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Common Causes of Hammertoe

Summer in Onondaga County means relaxing by Onondaga Lake, spending a day with the family at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, or playing pickup games with the neighbors. A painful toe deformity such as hammertoe could mean spending more time indoors instead of being on your feet. Hammertoe occurs when a weakness in the middle joint of a toe causes it to buckle and point downward instead of straight. The top of the bent toe is then prone to developing calluses and corns from the added pressure. It can affect any of the five toes, but most often appears in the second, third, and fourth toes.

Fortunately, hammertoe does not have to be a permanent issue. Here are some common causes of hammertoe and methods to relieve the pain or correct the deformity altogether:

  1. Improperly-fitting shoes: Shoes that are too small or too narrow around the toes can give rise to many deformities, including hammertoe. High-heeled or pointy-toed shoes often force the toes into an unnatural position. If you begin to develop hammertoe, it might help to purchase shoes that are roomier and allow for more toe flexibility.
  2. High foot arch: Some people are naturally born with a higher foot arch. This condition results in more downward pressure on the toes than normal, which may push the joints in the toes out of position. Orthotics are footwear inserts that can provide support and alleviate discomfort caused by the patient’s unique foot shape.
  3. Arthritis: Arthritis, or joint inflammation, can cause swelling, stiffness, and deformities like hammertoe in the feet. It can be very painful and limit the mobility of the feet. Treatments for arthritis include massages, medication, ice baths, or some simple foot and toe stretches.

Some hammertoes can be corrected with home remedies, but others might require a surgical solution. In either case, board-certified podiatrist Dr. Ryan L. D’Amico can determine the right treatment for you. Syracuse Podiatry in Central New York is equipped with a digital x-ray machine, so Dr. D’Amico can get an even better look at any conditions causing you discomfort. Dr. D’Amico can also treat other foot and ankle ailments, including heel pain, ingrown toenails, and bunions. Syracuse Podiatry welcomes patients of all ages! We encourage you to contact us or call our Fayetteville office at (315) 446-3668 to ask questions or to schedule an appointment today!

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