Do you notice a change in the anatomy of one or more of your toes? Does this toe hurt when you walk, touch it, or put any sort of pressure on it?
These could be symptoms of a painful foot condition called hammertoe.
Today, we’re going to look at what causes hammertoe and how common this condition really is. We’ll also explain how certain treatment options can reduce the amount of pain you experience.
What Is Hammertoe and How Do People Get It?
Hammertoe is a condition in which one or more toes are abnormally bent at the middle joint.
Many people blame hammertoe on ill-fitting shoes.
While this is one of the causes of this condition – it’s definitely not the only one.
Here are some of the reasons why people end up with hammertoe.
They Wear Shoes Which Don’t Fit Well
Yes, we just mentioned this, but it bears repeating because this is one of the preventable contributing factors of hammertoe.
While shoes don’t cause this condition, they can make someone with an existing hammertoe experience more pain.
Genetics Play an Important Role
When a person has inadequate arch support they can end up with hammertoe. People who have flat, flexible feet, as well as those with really high arches, are at risk for developing this condition as well.
Certain Neuromuscular Diseases Contribute to This Condition
Certain diseases can increase the risk of this condition, too. Some of these include:
- People who’ve had a stroke
- Diabetes patients
- People with arthritis
- Patients with Charcot-Marie Tooth.
They’ve Experienced Some Sort of Foot Trauma
Foot trauma – like a broken toe or stubbing a toe really hard – can lead to hammertoe. After the injury, the toe fails to heal properly, resulting in a permanent bend in the joint.
Their Foot and Toe Muscles Are Extremely Tight
If the muscles in the foot are imbalanced in some way – they’re too tight, they’re longer or shorter than they should be – it can lead to foot issues like hammertoe.
Treatment Options to Reduce the Pain of Hammertoe
Hammertoe can be extremely painful.
Walking can strain the muscles, which results in pain. The toe then becomes sore, whether you’re walking or standing. Some people end up with such tender toes they can’t even touch the affected digit without wincing in pain.
Another side effect of this condition is corns and calluses. Because of the bend in the joint, the toe sits up higher than the others and rubs against shoes and socks. This can result in corns, calluses, and even blisters.
Fortunately, there are some treatment options to help reduce the amount of pain a patient experiences.
- Wearing Roomier Shoes – If a patient still has fairly flexible muscles in their toe, sometimes all which is needed are roomier shoes. Wearing properly fitted shoes can make a world of difference!
- Exercising the Muscles of the Feet – Strengthening, as well as stretching, are needed to keep the toes from staying bent. You can scrunch up a towel or washcloth with your toes, or even pick up some marbles with them.
- Foot Surgery – If the condition is too painful to bear, surgery is an option. A surgeon can remove a portion of the bone so the toe can lay flat again.
Why You Should See Your Foot Doctor Regularly
Should you take the time out of your busy schedule to visit the foot doctor? Is it really worth your time and money?
The answer to both of these questions is: Yes!
Going to the foot doctor can help you find relief from painful foot conditions like hammertoe. You’ll get recommendations for treatment and be shown techniques which will help you care for your feet at home.
Additionally, seeing a foot doctor on a regular basis enables us to nip conditions in the bud. We have a better chance of successfully treating a disease or condition if we find it early.
Our goal is to educate our patients so they can prevent pain in the first place. And if this is not possible, we will do all we can to get you out of pain if you’ve already developed a condition.
Don’t delay making an appointment if you start to feel any sort of foot discomfort. The sooner we get a diagnosis – the sooner you’ll be walking comfortably again.
Contact The Advanced Foot and Ankle Institute of Georgia to get in touch with a qualified podiatrist in Marietta.