Your Treatment Options for Hammertoe

Hammertoe is a common and painful condition. It can make walking, putting on shoes, or doing simple tasks a chore. In this blog, Kerry E. Berg, DPM, of Intermountain Foot & Ankle, explains what hammertoe is, what causes it, and how it can be treated.

What causes hammertoe?

Hammertoe is caused by an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of a toe. With hammertoe, the affected toe curls downward, with the middle joint forming the peak. The middle three toes are the most likely toes to be affected.

Very few people are born with hammertoe. Instead, it usually develops over time. However, there is a genetic component, meaning that if a parent has the condition, you’re more likely to develop it.

Shoes are a major culprit in the development of hammertoe. The types of shoes that are most likely to lead to the condition are those that pinch your toes together. Tight shoes — especially high heels — can put too much stress on toes. And this pressure can lead to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments and therefore increase the risk of hammertoe.

Other conditions associated with developing hammertoe include the following:

Hammertoe can also cause corns or calluses to form on your toes, which can become very painful. To properly diagnose hammertoe, Dr. Berg will typically perform an X-ray of your feet.

How is hammertoe treated?

As it is with anything, prevention is the best medicine. Prevention includes wearing shoes with more room in the toe area and heels no higher than an inch. However, if you have the condition, there are a number of options you can use to treat it.

At-home care

If the condition is minor, you may be able to help relieve pain by performing simple stretches, such as flexing your toes and bending them back. By stretching your toes, you may be able to relieve tension and strengthen your toe joints.

Medical care

If at-home treatments aren’t enough to relieve the pain, Dr. Berg may offer some of the following treatments:

Surgery is generally a last resort after other treatments have failed. However, surgery is usually relatively uncomplicated and is performed on an outpatient basis, so you can go home the same day.

If you have hammertoe and want treatment, or if you want to see if you have the condition, book an appointment online or over the phone with Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Diabetes and Your Feet

Having diabetes involves daily monitoring. But while you may know you need to monitor your blood glucose level, did you also know you need to examine your feet every day? Learn why foot care is so important when you have diabetes.

How Is a Sprained Ankle Graded?

A sprained ankle can be temporarily disabling. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to bear weight on the injured ankle. How severe is the sprain? Learn how a sprained ankle is graded.

How to Select the Right Running Shoes for Your Feet

If you’re a runner, it’s imperative that you understand the importance of what to wear on your feet. The right running shoes can provide the support you need and protect you from injury. Keep reading to learn more.

If the Ball of Your Foot Hurts, You May Have a Neuroma

Pain in the ball of your foot affects the way your entire foot — and body — moves. If you have pain in the ball of your foot that doesn’t go away, you may have a Morton’s neuroma. Morton’s neuromas worsen without treatment. Here’s what to do.