The only toe not susceptible to bending into the shape of a hammer is the big toe. All the other toes can adopt this curious condition, which is a progressive deformity that will only worsen over time often causing additional problems in the process.
What is the Cause?
An imbalance between the muscle and the tendon in the toe is most often cited as the cause of hammertoe. This can be inherited, or caused by structural changes that occur over a long period of time. An injury can also cause a toe to become formed in this manner. It is best to treat hammertoes early while they still retain some flexibility. The more rigid they become, the more difficult they are to deal with.
Symptoms of Hammertoe
While the bent shape of the toe is an easily recognizable symptom, others may include:
- Inflammation, burning, and redness
- Pain when wearing shoes
- Bunions are often seen in patients with hammertoes
- Corns and calluses either on top of the toe or the ball of the foot or between the affected toe and the one next to it
- Open cuts on the affected toe caused by rubbing inside the shoe
Non-surgical treatments for hammertoe include the following:
- Using padding or other orthotics to isolate the hammertoe
- Corticosteroid injections
- Splinting or strapping
When a hammertoe has become too rigid and painful for conservative treatment, surgery may be required to reposition the toe and realign the tendons. This can usually be performed on an outpatient basis.
The foot specialists at ETL Podiatry in Briarwood and Melville, NY, have unparalleled experience in treating all types of foot and ankle pain and would happy to assist you with your hammertoe problems. Our team of doctors is dedicated to serving you with all of the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Melville, NY (631-549-8637) and Briarwood, NY (929-336-4523).