Hammer Toe – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

January 3, 2019 By admin

Hammer Toe – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

You hardly pay attention to your feet and when something serious happens to them, it suddenly opens your eyes.

There are a lot of conditions that your feet can undergo and hammer toe is one such condition. This is a deformity wherein your toe curls or bends downward instead of pointing forward.

Image Courtesy: modpodpodiatry.com.au

Any of your toes can be affected by a hammer toe, but most frequently the second or third toes are affected. But all your toes may curl downward if your peripheral nerves or spinal cord is damaged.

A hammer toe may even be present at birth; but it often develops over time because of arthritis or wearing poorly fitting shoes, like pointed, tight heels.

Fortunately a hammer toe is treatable in most cases.

What is the Cause of a Hammer Toe?

Your toe consists of two joints that enable it to bend at the bottom and middle. When the middle joint becomes bent or flexed downward, a hammer toe occurs.

A hammer toe is commonly caused by:

  • Arthritis
  • A traumatic injury to a toe
  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes
  • An abnormally high foot arch
  • Pressure from a bunion, i.e. when your big toe bends inward towards your second toe
  • Tightened tendons or ligaments on the foot

Symptoms of Hammer Toe

A hammer toe can be painful when you walk, or try to stretch or move the affected toes or the ones near it. Symptoms of a hammer toe include:

  • A toe that has bent downward
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Claw-like toes
  • Corns or calluses
  • Inability to waggle your toes or bend your foot

You should visit your orthopedic surgeon or podiatrist Morisset like ModPod Podiatry right away if you see any of these symptoms.

Treatment of a Hammer Toe

Treatment options of a hammer toe are based on the severity of the condition.

Treatment for a Mild Hammer Toe

A hammer toe resulted from an ill-fitting shoes can be corrected by wearing properly fitting footwear.

If it has been resulted from a high arch, toe pads or insoles can benefit. Your toe’s position is shifted by these pads because of which the toe’s appearance is corrected and pain is relieved.

If bunions or corns are causing a hammer toe, you can normally use over-the-counter pads, cushions or medications. However, if they are causing pain or making your toes deformed, your surgeon may choose to remove them surgically.

If you have blisters on your toes, don’t try to pop them. Popping them can cause discomfort and infection. OTC creams and cushions can be used to relieve pain and protect blisters from rubbing against the inner surface of shoes.

You can even stretch your toes gently to relieve pain and relocate the affected toe.

Treatment for a Severe Hammer Toe

If you cannot flex your toe, the only alternative to restore movement is surgery. The toe can be repositioned, injured or deformed bone can be removed and joints and tendons can be realigned with surgery.

Surgery is typically done on an outpatient basis; hence, patients can return home on the same day of surgery.

How to Avoid a Hammer Toe?

The best thing to do to prevent a hammer toe is to wear shoes that fit properly. If your footwear is too snug, visit your local shoe shop and get the length and width of your feet measured.

If you are fond of wearing high heels, the height of heels should not be more than 2 inches. High heels increase pressure on your toes and cause them to bend. They can even trigger the formation of corns and a high arch.

You should get the hammer toe treated from the expert podiatry Dee Why like ModPod Podiatry as soon as possible to avoid your other toes getting affected. Wish you a great health of your feet!

Image Courtesy: modpodpodiatry.com.au


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