Hammertoe is a foot deformity that develops in the middle joint of one or more of your toes. When you have a hammertoe, your joint bends abnormally, often described as bending or clawing. This condition is most common in the second, third, and fourth toes.
Hammertoes develop because of an imbalance in the ligaments, tendons, or muscles responsible for holding the toes straight. This condition may occur because of trauma to your toe or after you wear certain types of shoes for long periods of time. Other risk factors for hammertoe include:
The first symptom of hammertoe is an obvious abnormal bend in the middle joint of one of your toes. You may also notice pain in your feet and corns or calluses in the area. Also, it may be difficult to move the affected toe.
Dr. Dunn is usually able to diagnose hammertoe simply by looking at your toes and asking about your symptoms. However, if she suspects that another condition may be causing your problems, she may recommend an imaging scan, such as an X-ray.
If you have a hammertoe, it’s important to get treatment quickly. If you don’t treat this condition, the tendons in your toe will continue to tighten and contract, and the bend in your toe will become permanent, leading to pain, corns, calluses, and other complications.
If your toe is still flexible when you seek treatment, Dr. Dunn may recommend wearing custom orthotics or switching to different footwear to relieve the pressure on your toe. She may also recommend certain exercises to strengthen the muscles in the toe.
If these non-invasive treatments don’t work, you may need surgery. The purpose of the surgery is to release the tendon that keeps your toe from lying flat. During the surgery, Dr. Dunn may also remove part of the bone.
The key to successfully treating hammertoe is to seek medical help right away; the earlier you tackle hammertoe, the less severe the treatment. Call or go online to book an appointment with Dr. Dunn to get started.