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Jeffrey Jackson, DPM Emily Ernst, DPM

Why Do I Have a Hammertoe?

Tuesday, 17 May 2022 00:00

A hammertoe is a deformity where the middle of a toe joint is bent and the end of the toe angles down resembling a claw. It usually involves the second toe but also can involve other toes. A corn often develops on the top of the toe and a callus on the sole of the foot.  Over time, one cannot straighten the toe and walking can become painful. Causes of hammertoe are wearing narrow, short shoes that force the second toe to bend forward or a congenital defect that develops over time. The muscles and tendons in the toe tighten and become shorter. Those who wear high heels or shoes that do not fit properly are more apt to suffer from this condition. Wearing properly fitting footwear that does not put the foot at an angle, with soft insoles to relieve pressure on the toes, can help prevent hammertoe. Since a hammertoe can become painful and interfere with normal functioning, seeing a podiatrist for proper diagnosis and treatment is suggested. Sometimes surgery to straighten the joint will be necessary.

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact one of the podiatrists of JE Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctors will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that occurs due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight. It can be caused by the type of shoes you wear, your foot structure, trauma, and certain disease processes.

Symptoms

  • Painful and/or difficult toe movement
  • Swelling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Calluses/Corns
  • Physical deformity

Risk Factors

  • Age – The risk of hammertoe increases with age
  • Sex – Women are more likely to have hammertoe compared to men
  • Toe Length – You are more likely to develop hammertoe if your second toe is longer than your big toe
  • Certain Diseases – Arthritis and diabetes may make you more likely to develop hammertoe

Treatment

If you have hammertoe, you should change into a more comfortable shoe that provides enough room for your toes. Exercises such as picking up marbles may strengthen and stretch your toe muscles. Nevertheless, it is important to seek assistance from a podiatrist in order to determine the severity of your hammertoe and see which treatment option will work best for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Fleming Island and Palm Coast, FL . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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