Do you have a small toe that bends so much that it appears almost claw-like?
If so, then you may be dealing with a hammertoe. A hammertoe usually develops because of an imbalance of the toe muscles that puts extra pressure on the tendons and joints, leading to a bending of the middle toe joint. However, trauma to the foot, arthritis, ill-fitted shoes and genetics can also play a role in whether you are more likely to develop a hammertoe.
If you have a hammertoe you may experience any of the following symptoms:
- Pain at the top of the middle joint
- A corn on the top of the affected toe
- Redness, pain or swelling of the toe joint
- Difficulty straightening the bent toe
There are two types of hammertoes: flexible and rigid. A flexible hammertoe is easier to treat and is not as serious. As the name suggests, a flexible hammertoe is when the joint can still move. A rigid hammertoe, on the other hand, is more serious and causes immobility of the toe joint.
So, what can you do to manage your hammertoe symptoms? Some people may be able to use more conservative treatment options, particularly if we have diagnosed them with a flexible hammertoe. Common at-home treatment options include:
- Wearing properly fitted footwear that give toes room to move
- Wearing a hammertoe pad to take pressure off the area, particularly when wearing shoes
- Avoiding high heels
- Using ice and over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce pain and swelling
If you are still experiencing pain, it’s time to see us for treatment. Of course, if you have diabetes, circulation disorders or neuropathy and you experience any changes in your feet, it’s important that you see us right away to prevent complications. Through a physical evaluation and X-rays we will be able to diagnose your condition and create a treatment plan. Common treatments include:
- Custom orthotics
- Prescription medication
- Specific stretching/strengthening exercises
If you are experiencing symptoms of a hammertoe, it’s time you called our office in Wytheville, VA at (276) 228-2212 to schedule your consultation.