Hammertoe is a condition where the either the second, third or fourth toes are deformed, typically because they are bent at the middle portion. While it can be corrected if addressed early enough, if hammertoe is not treated it may require surgery to fix.
There are two main reasons why hammertoe occurs; either the person wears shoes that do not properly fit or he or she has some sort of muscle imbalance. If the toe is held in a certain position for an extended period of time, its muscles will tighten and will not be able to stretch out normally.
If you wear shoes that are too narrow in the toes, they will push them into that bent position. This also leads to the toes rubbing against the front of the shoe and forming calluses and corner. The bend of the toe is exaggerated even further when wearing heels, as the foot is forced down and pressure is increased.
The first course of treatment your doctor will likely recommend is to simply wear different shoes, ones that provide plenty of room in the toe. There are also some exercises you may be able to perform at home that can strengthen and stretch the muscles. Corn pads may also relieve symptoms.
However, if more conservative options are not effective, then surgery may be needed. This is usually performed on an outpatient basis using only a local anesthetic, but if the problem is severe a more extensive procedure may be needed. You will likely experience some redness, swelling and stiffness while the toes heal. While you will be able to walk, you will need to stay off your feet as much as possible so that proper healing can take place.
If you have hammertoe, turn to the experts with Advanced Foot & Ankle Care Specialists. We will perform a thorough examination and determine the right course of treatment to get you back to normal as quickly as possible. To schedule an appointment, contact us online or call us at (214) 366-4600.