There are small bone segments that are connected by joints in the toes of each foot. A condition that is referred to as hammertoe occurs when the joint in one of the toes becomes deformed and causes the toe to bend downward, resembling a hammer. Additionally, it may typically affect the toe next to it, and may become painful and uncomfortable. There are several reasons why hammertoe may develop, including wearing poorly fitting footwear, which may generally include shoes with inadequate room for the toes to move freely in, medical conditions such as arthritis, or a genetic disposition. If you feel you may have developed hammertoe, an examination is needed so a proper diagnosis can be determined, which is generally performed by a podiatrist. Treatment options may then be discussed that can include performing gentle foot stretches, which may help to relax the tendons surrounding the affected joint, or having your toe splinted, which may aid in straightening the toes out.
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.
- Painful and/or difficult toe movement
- Joint stiffness
- Physical deformity
- 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
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 our office located in Lincoln, RI. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.Read more about What Are Hammertoes?