Hammertoes are the result of toes bending at the middle joint. This can be due to a variety of reasons, the most common of which is the use of footwear that doesn’t fit correctly (high heel shoes). The big toe joint is most susceptible to this condition and when it becomes fixated in a bent position, much pain can be caused due to pressure and friction that are being placed on the toes from hitting against the insides of shoes. More likely than not, hammertoes can also be caused by severe trauma from some type of injury or repeated stresses from poorly fitting shoes. Moreover, uneven tendons that are supposed to adjust the toes by unbending and bending them speed up the development of this condition. Lastly, diabetics have poor circulation and are at high risk for developing other foot complications. Therefore, they are more prone to developing this condition and must follow preventative measures more closely than others.
Treatment for this condition includes:
· The use of anti-inflammatories to reduce swelling.
· The use of orthotics to redistribute pressure away from the toe joints, helping to stop pain and thereby hinder the further development of hammertoes.
· Physical therapy by stretching the toes to engage the tendons that are contributing to this condition.
· Surgical procedures may be required if hammertoes have become totally bent from the absence of the proper preventative measures discussed above. Surgery will allow for the elimination of the bulging joint issue, realigning the injured joint into the correct position or redirecting a tendon, all of which will help the toe joint to heal correctly and allow the toe to straighten properly.
Hammertoes can become a serious issue. Please contact us at Palm Beach Orthopaedic Institute, located in our West Palm Beach, Jupiter, Wellington and Palm Beach Gardens, Florida locations. Our podiatrist, John Schilero, DPM, can help to straighten out your joints and prevent hammertoes from doing any further damage to your feet. Please make an appointment today by calling our office at 561-694-7776 EXT. 41 and review our Patient Education section for additional helpful tips.