Hammertoe Treatment Questions and Answers
Hammertoe treatments are available if you are dealing with symptoms of hammertoe that may cause pain and discomfort. Call Advanced Foot and Ankle Specialists today or book your appointment for Hammertoe Treatments. We have convenient locations near you in Elgin IL, Schaumburg IL, Huntley IL, and Chicago IL.
What is a hammertoe?
Hammertoe which is also known as mallet toe is foot deformities that occur when there is an imbalance in the muscles, tendons or ligaments that normally hold your toe straight. The type of shoes you wear, the foot structure, trauma and certain diseases may also contribute to the development of hammertoe or mallet toe.
Hammertoe is an abnormal bend in the middle joint of a toe in your foot. It affects the joint that is closest to your toenail, and occurs normally in your second, third and fourth toes on your feet.
Relieving the pain and pressure you may feel from hammertoe may involve changing your footwear, wearing shoe insoles like custom orthotics and visiting a podiatrist to offer more support and information about your hammertoe. In very severe cases, hammertoe may need surgery to offer the relief you are looking for.
What are the symptoms of hammer toe?
There are three main types of hammertoe conditions, they are:
• Flexible hammertoes
Flexible hammertoes are toes that are still developing, the affected toes are still able to move at the joint with flexible hammertoes.
• Semi-rigid hammertoes
This condition of hammertoe is when the hammertoe starts to stiffen.
• Rigid hammertoes
Rigid hammertoe is when you can no longer move the toes because the tendons and soft tissues have become to tightened.
There are multiple symptoms of hammertoe that you can look out for including:
• Joint in your toes that become rigid
• Pain which usually occurs at the top of your bent toe(s)
• Pain in the ball of your foot/feet
• Corns and calluses that can occur at the top of your joint
• Redness, inflammation or a burning sensation can be felt with hammertoe
• Restricted or painful motion of your toe joint(s)
• Swelling at your joint(s)
• Open sores (this is a very rare symptom)
What causes hammertoe?
Hammertoes can cause abnormal muscle balance in your toe(s) which can lead to increased pressure on the tendon(s) and joint(s), which can cause hammertoe(s). Causes of the muscle imbalance may include:
Feet type can come from your genes. Flat, flexible feet can lead to hammertoes as the foot begins to try and stabilize itself against a flattening arch. Feet with high arches can still also form hammertoes as the extensor tendons may overpower the flexors.
• Poor shoes
Some shoes like high-heels or footwear that is too tight or the toe box is too crowded can cause your toes to curl and eventually become permanent even when barefoot.
• Neuromuscular disease
Can contribute to the development of hammertoe or mallet toe. Anyone dealing with diabetes is also at an increased risk for complications with hammertoe. As their toes with a corn or other ulceration may indicate that there is too much pressure on the toes, as well as poor blood circulation or neuropathy, infection corns and lesions will lead to the loss of a toe or foot unless the shoes become modified.
Trauma like an injury from a stub, jam or break can cause a toe to be more likely to develop hammertoe or mallet toe.
• Abnormal balance of the toe muscles
This abnormal balance can lead to instability, which can cause the toe to contract and bend.
Can you straighten hammer toes?
To help prevent or treat hammertoes, you have a few options:
• Wear sensible shoes
If you do not want to go through with a surgery to help with your hammertoe issue, wearing proper shoes with a wider and deep toe box to accommodate your foots shape would be best. Custom orthotics from Advanced Foot and Ankle Specialists are able to create custom orthotics to help with your foot arch and other issues to help you better manage your hammertoe condition.
• Pumice stone
Corns or calluses that form on the top of your hammertoe can cause great discomfort if you are barefoot or wearing shoes. To treat corns or calluses, its suggested you use a pumice stone to reduce the size after a warm bath to soften the area and have it come down. However, this may not work for everyone, and if you are dealing with a corn or callus, it is best to talk to your podiatrist about any recommendations they may offer you to help treat your corn or calluses from hammertoe.
• Foot exercises
Many podiatrists will be able to offer foot exercises to their patients to help deal with the pain and discomfort hammertoe may cause them. These exercises are done help keep your toes supple and strengthen the muscles that move them.
If you are consistently dealing with pain and discomfort from your hammertoe, surgery may be the next or only option for patients to help with their hammertoe or mallet toe.
Call Advanced Foot and Ankle Specialists for comprehensive hammertoe treatment. Advanced Foot and Ankle Specialists have convenient locations near you in Elgin IL, Schaumburg IL, Huntley IL, and Chicago IL.