Find out more about hammertoes, how they happen and what you can do about them.
If you wear high heels all the time or shoes with pointed toes, you may end up dealing with a hammertoe at some point in your lifetime. This foot problem causes an abnormal bend in the middle joint of the affected toe. From the office of our Ridgefield, CT, podiatrist Dr. Allan Rosenthal, find out more about hammertoes and whether you may be suffering from this affliction.
What Are the Signs of a Hammertoe?
If you have a toe that is completely bent in the middle and looks claw-like, this is a classic sign of a hammertoe. You may find that this toe is more likely to become irritated when wearing shoes, as the bent toe is more likely to rub against shoes.
You may also notice a corn forming on the top of the toe. A toe with a severe hammertoe may be swollen, red or difficult to move.
What Causes a Hammertoe?
A hammertoe results from a muscle or ligament imbalance in the toe, which causes the joint to get stuck in a bent position. While high heels and tight shoes are often the culprits behind a hammertoe, arthritis, an injury to the foot, and even genetics can be to blame. A lot of it has to do with the shape of your feet. Flat feet or feet with high arches may be more unstable, which can leave people susceptible to developing hammertoes.
I Have a Hammertoe. How Do I Treat It?
If you notice that your feet hurt and you have hammertoes, then you will certainly want our Ridgefield, CT, foot doctor to look at the problem. The earlier you seek treatment for a hammertoe, the sooner you can get treatment and prevent the hammertoe from getting worse. Of course, there are certain lifestyle changes you can make every day to reduce symptoms:
- Only wear shoes that give your toes ample room to move around. Stay away from high heels (shoes with heels higher than 2 inches).
- Make sure you wear shoes that are right for your activity (the shoes you may wear in the office will certainly be different from those you wear to run outside).
- Wear hammertoe pads to prevent irritation when wearing shoes.
- Try over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce pain and swelling temporarily.
- Use a covered ice pack over the toe to relieve pain or swelling.
- Perform daily foot exercises to improve strength and stability in muscles and ligaments in the foot to correct the imbalance. We would be happy to show you some exercises to do— just ask!
If you don’t find the relief you need with conservative treatment options, it might be time to consider corticosteroid injections to reduce severe pain and inflammation. If your hammertoe still doesn’t ease up, then surgery may be recommended to correct the joint.
If you are looking for a treatment to eliminate your hammertoe pain, our Ridgefield, CT, podiatrist Dr. Rosenthal and the Advanced Foot Care Center team can provide you with what you need. Call (203) 431-0048 to schedule an evaluation.