Posts for tag: hammertoes
A hammertoe is a common foot deformity that affects the middle joint of the smaller toes. As a result, this causes the toes to bend downward. Since this bend causes the joint to stick out this can put more pressure on the affected joints when wearing shoes, which can also make the deformity worse over time. As with most foot deformities a hammertoe will start out minor and continue to progress over time if left untreated.
During the earlier stages you may not notice much pain and discomfort. In fact the only way you may be able to tell that you have a hammertoe is by examining the foot and noticing that the small toes bend downward like a claw. Of course, at this stage the deformed joint is still flexible enough to be straightened out.
However, if the deformity progresses this can cause the joint to become rigid, which won’t respond effectively to simple conservative treatments. As you might imagine, the sooner you see a podiatrist to treat your hammertoe the better. Early intervention is key, as a hammertoe will not get better without the proper care.
Hammertoes are often the result of an imbalance in the muscle or tendon of the foot. Over time, this leads to structural changes in the foot. Genetics may also play a role in whether your feet are at risk for this deformity. A hammertoe can also be made worse by wearing shoes that are too tight and put too much pressure on the toes.
Along with the structural changes that occur with hammertoes it’s also common to experience redness, inflammation or the development of a corn or callus on the toe. If you are noticing symptoms of a hammertoe see your podiatrist for an evaluation. A simple physical exam is usually all that’s needed to diagnose a hammertoe; however, sometimes an x-ray will be performed in order to determine the extent of the deformity.
If you are dealing with a flexible hammertoe, more often than not simple nonsurgical treatment options are all that’s needed. Following simple treatment options and care can prevent the hammertoes from becoming rigid or painful. Some nonsurgical treatment options include:
- Wearing the appropriate footwear. This means wearing shoes that aren’t pointy or have high heels, which can put more pressure on the toes.
- Placing custom orthotics into your shoes, which can ease discomfort and prevent pain resulting in a muscular imbalance.
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, which can reduce both pain and inflammation.
- Splinting the toe or toes to keep them straight, which can also reduce stiffness, inflammation and pain.
- Applying protective non-medicated padding over the top of the toe to prevent a corn or callus from developing.
If your hammertoe is painful or rigid then you may need to discuss whether surgery is the best option for alleviating your symptom and correcting the deformity. If you are dealing with a hammertoe turn to a foot specialist for help.
When most people think about foot deformities they most often think about bunions; however, hammertoes are just as common. This unassuming deformity comes about gradually, so you may not even notice it until it’s too late. “What is a hammertoe?” You might be wondering. A hammertoe affects the middle joint of a toe (often the smaller toes), causing the toe to bend downward. In severe cases, a hammertoe will look almost claw-like.
There are two kinds of hammertoes: flexible and rigid. As you might imagine, a flexible hammertoe is one in which you can still straighten the toe out. If you aren’t able to straighten the affected toe then this is a rigid hammertoe. A flexible hammertoe isn’t as serious as a rigid one; however, it’s important that you take care of your hammertoe to make sure that it doesn’t get worse.
While there is no way to cure a hammertoe there are simple measures you can take to prevent it from progressing. First and foremost, you need to take a look at the shoes you are wearing and make sure that they aren’t too tight. When you slip your feet into your shoes, does it cause your toes to bunch up against one another? If so then this could make your hammertoe worse.
Instead, opt for shoes with an ample toe box, which will allow your toes to wiggle and move around freely. If you have a structural imbalance within the foot this can leave you prone to foot problems such as hammertoes and bunions. To correct this imbalance, talk to your foot doctor about getting custom orthotics (shoe inserts), which can be placed into your shoes to help provide cushioning, support, and shock absorption for your feet.
If pain or stiffness does rear its ugly head you can choose to take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen, which can tackle both pain and inflammation in one fell swoop, or you can place a towel-wrapped ice pack (never put ice directly on the skin, as it can cause severe burns) over the area for several minutes.
Just as you can buy pads to cover a bunion or callus, you can also buy a non-medicated protective pad to cover over a hammertoe. Since the deformed toe joint juts out this can leave the toe prone to calluses, which can cause pain when wearing shoes. To prevent a callus from forming, you can apply a protective pad over the deformed toe joint before putting on shoes.
Of course, if you are dealing with significant or frequent pain, or if the hammertoe is rigid, then you will want to turn to a podiatric specialist. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended to correct the disfigured joint.
If left untreated, painful problems with your feet can quickly cause you to feel irritated and annoyed with not being able to perform your daily tasks. However, you can treat most problems, such as hammertoes and the corns associated with them, with help from your podiatrist. Learn more about these conditions and more with your doctors at Associated Foot and Ankle Centers of Northern Virginia with offices in Lake Ridge and Stafford, VA.
What is a hammertoe?
A hammertoe occurs when muscle imbalance in the toe causes it to become curled, resembling the claw side of a hammer. This deformity may come from genetics, which puts you at a higher risk of developing hammertoe, injury to the toe, wearing ill-fitting shoes or arthritis. Hammertoes can cause pain, irritation and swelling of the toe.
What is a corn?
A corn is an area of thickened skin located on the foot or toe. The patch may look like a bump on the skin and may be flaky or dry. The corn may become irritated, painful or tender over time. Corns normally develop in areas of the foot where there is excess pressure or friction due to wearing ill-fitting shoes or from other conditions affecting the foot.
How are hammertoes and corns related?
Hammertoe causes the toe to curl unnaturally, which, in turn, causes it to rub against the top of your shoe. This rubbing action causes a corn to form on the top of the toe where it hits the shoe. This causes a new condition on top of the hammertoe, causing additional pain, swelling or irritation.
Hammertoe and Corn Treatments in Lake Ridge and Stafford, VA
If you think you suffer from hammertoes or corns, you should consult with your podiatrist. Your doctor will begin with a physical examination to confirm your condition. If necessary, they may use x-rays or MRIs to draw further conclusions about your hammertoe. After confirming you are suffering from hammertoes, your doctor will begin determining your treatment plan. Your doctor may suggest physical therapy, switching the type of shoes you normally wear or surgery to correct your hammertoe.
For more information on hammertoes and corns, please contact Associated Foot and Ankle Centers of Northern Virginia, serving both the Lake Ridge, VA and Stafford, VA areas. Call to schedule your appointment with your podiatrist today!
Have you been diagnosed with hammertoes or noticed issues with your feet that may indicate a hammertoe? If so, your Lake Ridge and Stafford Foot and Ankle Center podiatrists are here to help. Find out the most common treatments available for those with hammertoes and why you should seek treatment.
There are some home self-help ways to help alleviate any pain or other issues you are experiencing as a result. These include:
- Wearing shoes that give your toes a little more room to move and don’t have heels higher than 2 inches.
- Wearing the proper shoes depending on the type of activity you are doing.
- Using non-medicated hammertoe pads and placing them on the joint to help reduce pressure.
- Icing the painful joint to reduce swelling. Ice for no more than 15 minutes at a time a couple times a day.
There are several actual treatment options you can consider or use in conjunction with one another depending on the severity of your issue, such as:
- Use over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen) to reduce pain and swelling. If the pain is severe or persistent we may also recommend steroid injections to target more acute forms of pain.
- Wear custom-made orthotics (shoe inserts), which can be placed into your shoes to provide more support and stability for susceptible areas of the foot. This can also reduce pain.
- We can also show you a series of stretching and strengthening exercises for you to perform every day to improve hammertoe-related symptoms. We may also recommend splinting the toe if the issue is caught in the earlier stages where the joint may be properly realigned through splinting.
If none of these more conservative options work, you may need to consider surgical correction. There are many surgical options for treating hammertoes, and if your condition has gotten so bad that pain and other symptoms are affecting your quality of life, then it’s time we talked about these surgery treatment options with you.
Don’t let hammertoes or other foot problems affect your daily life or cause you pain. Turn to the Lake Ridge and Stafford Foot & Ankle Centers today and let’s get your hammertoe ailment corrected so you can then function pain free. Hammertoe correction is performed as an outpatient surgery at a local hospital or surgery center. Techniques utilizing surgical screws and pins have shortened healing time and improved surgical results tremendously. Just ask one of our foot & ankle board certified surgeons today about the benefits and risks of hammertoe surgical repair. Call Today!