What Can Cause Hammertoe and What Are the Treatment Options?

Hammertoe is known as a contracture of either one or both joints of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th toes. This kind of abnormal bending can always put pressure on your toe while wearing shoes, causing certain problems.

Normally, hammer toes will begin as mild deformities and then gradually get worse over time. During the earlier stages, hammertoes can be flexible, and often the symptoms can be managed with certain noninvasive measures.

However, if you leave them untreated, then hammertoes can turn out more rigid and may not respond to any non-surgical treatment.

Due to the progressive nature of such hammertoes, they must get immediate attention. Hammertoes will never get better without any kind of intervention. In case, you are suspecting that you have a hammertoe then contact a Podiatrist in Irvine.

What are the symptoms of hammer toe?

The main symptom of a hammer toe can be a toe bent upward at your middle joint. However, the affected patient can still straighten out his toe initially. Still, it may become painful and also more brutal to straighten the toe after some time.

Quickly, corns, blisters, or calluses can get formed when your shoe’s inside will rub against a hammer toe.

What causes a hammer toe?

Hammer’s toe is frequently brought on by wearing short, thin, and tight shoes. The toe bends upward when wearing tight shoes, and the muscles and tendons of the toe shorten and tighten.

Hammer’s toe is more likely to occur in people who have long toe bones. Additionally, youngsters who wear outgrown shoes run the risk of developing a hammer toe.

Another contributing factor to the development of hammer toe is wearing extremely narrow or high-heeled shoes. Additional risk factors for the development of hammer toe in the foot include rheumatoid arthritis and bunions.

Treatment options

Luckily, hammertoes can be treated, based on the severity of your deformity, your podiatrist can recommend the best treatment plan.

1. Surgery

If you feel that your pain is getting worse and impacting your daily routine, then go for a surgical treatment option. Your surgeon will remove the bony part of your toe and realign the joint. Then they will insert a steel pin for correcting the toe’s position.

2. Custom orthotics

Custom orthotics can also help in positioning your toe to offer pain relief. Few patients can benefit from a pad that will allow your toe to properly grip.

3. Taping your toes

Taping your hammertoe to your next toe can also offer support and gently can force your hammertoe into its normal position.

Adding padding around your hammertoe can reduce pressure and offer pain relief.

4. Non-surgical treatment

Several non-surgical measures can also be undertaken:

· Padding corns and calluses:

Pads can be designed for shielding corns from irritation. Thus, it is suggested not to use any over-the-counter medicated pads, as they may contain a little amount of acid that can harm you.

· Changes in shoe-wear

Avoid wearing shoes with pointed toes, too short shoes, or shoes with high heels. These can force your toe against the front of your shoe. Rather go for comfy shoes having a deep, roomy front and also heels not higher than 2”.

· Custom Orthotic devices

It can be made, and when placed in the shoe can assist in controlling the tendon/ muscle imbalance.

· Injection therapy

Corticosteroid injections are often used to alleviate inflammation as well as pain caused by hammertoe.

· Medications

Oral anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can be recommended to reduce any pain and inflammation.

· Splinting/strapping

Splints or small straps can also be applied by podiatrists to realign your bent toe.

When surgery will be needed?

In certain cases, usually when your hammer toe pain has become much more rigid and painful, or when a certain open sore has developed, then surgery is needed.

Patients with hammertoes frequently have bunions or other foot abnormalities treated concurrently.

The amount of your deformity, the number of involved toes, your age, your level of activity, and other considerations will be taken into consideration as you choose the operation or combination of procedures for your unique case during your appointment at the clinic.

Depending on the surgery or procedures carried out, the length of the recovery period will change.