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Middle Tennessee Foot and Ankle Clinics are now Neuhaus Foot and Ankle!

What Causes a Hammertoe?

Tuesday, 31 May 2022 00:00

A hammertoe is a common deformity where a toe bends upward at the middle joint and gets stuck in that position. The top of the toe bends forward so it looks like a hammer. As time passes, the joint may get more rigidly bent and it can be painful and possibly lead to difficulty in walking and maintaining balance. Hammertoes can be inherited, with those with flatter feet and longer metatarsals (or middle bones of the feet) being more at risk. They can also be associated with a medical condition, such as diabetes. However, most often hammertoes develop from an imbalance within the toe structure. Usually something that forces extra weight to be put on the forefoot and toes (like tight shoes or high heels) can lead to hammertoes. The small muscles on the bottom of the foot get weaker than the larger muscles on the top of the foot and the toe does not bend or flex. Early detection and conservative treatment can help prevent the need for hammertoe surgery. Such intervention can be as simple as changing footwear to providing extra room for the toes, avoiding narrow, tight, and heeled shoes, using custom orthotics to off-load extra weight and strain towards the forefoot.  If you suffer from a hammertoe, it is suggested you consult with a podiatrist to find the best treatment plan. 

Hammertoe

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Brian D. Jackson, DPM from Middle Tennessee Foot & Ankle Clinic. Our doctor will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that affects the joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes of your feet. It is a painful foot condition in which these toes curl and arch up, which can often lead to pain when wearing footwear.

Symptoms

  • Pain in the affected toes
  • Development of corns or calluses due to friction
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Contracture of the toes

Causes

Genetics – People who are genetically predisposed to hammertoe are often more susceptible

Arthritis – Because arthritis affects the joints in your toes, further deformities stemming from arthritis can occur

Trauma – Direct trauma to the toes could potentially lead to hammertoe

Ill-fitting shoes – Undue pressure on the front of the toes from ill-fitting shoes can potentially lead to the development of hammertoe

Treatment

Orthotics – Custom made inserts can be used to help relieve pressure placed on the toes and therefore relieve some of the pain associated with it

Medications – Oral medications such as anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs could be used to treat the pain and inflammation hammertoes causes. Injections of corticosteroids are also sometimes used

Surgery – In more severe cases where the hammertoes have become more rigid, foot surgery is a potential option

If you have any questions please contact one of our offices located in Columbia and Pulaski, TN . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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