Hammertoe is a foot deformity caused by an imbalance of the toes’ ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Did you know this condition affects about 3% of the US population or 7 million people? With a hammertoe, you’ll likely notice an abnormal bend in your 2nd, 3rd, or 4th toes. Causes of hammertoe include high-heeled shoes that put excessive weight on the toes, shoes that crowd your toes, or trauma to the toes. Age, toe length, arthritis, and diabetes can also contribute to a hammertoe. Women tend to have hammertoe more than men.
Which Type Do You Have?
There are two types of hammertoe you can have:
Flexible – where the toe can still bend. At this point, more conservative treatments can be applied.
Rigid – when the toe no longer bends, surgery is usually recommended.
Steer Clear of Hammertoes
Treatment for hammertoe is often lengthy. The best way to avoid hammertoe pain and discomfort is by preventing it in the first place. Here are some ways you can do so…
- Wear proper fitting shoes with plenty of toe room.
- Wear low heels.
- Buying shoes at the end of the day when your feet are larger.
- Always check your foot size when buying footwear.
It is important for you to see your podiatrist, who will likely take an x-ray of the area to check the bone structure in the foot and toes.
Treatments For Hammertoe
- Roomier shoes, especially in the toe area.
- Orthotics that are custom-made for your specific condition.
- Over-the-counter foot pads.
- Toe exercises like picking up marbles with your toes.
- Surgery to relieve pressure on the toes.
If you have also developed corns or calluses on the overlapping toes, avoid store-bought corn removal products, which often contain acid and can damage your feet. Instead, see your podiatrist for treatment. They are specifically trained to handle these issues.
Dr. Ryan L. D’Amico, Dr. Donal M. Erickson, Dr. Keith Sherman, Dr. Anne-Louise Smith, Dr. Justin Muser, Dr. Nicholas Cronin, and the rest of the staff at Syracuse Podiatry in East Syracuse, New York, can help treat and care for your feet. Call us at 315-446-3668 or make an appointment online to get help today.