When the toes are forced to curl downwards due to the middle joints of the toes tightening up, they form what is known as a hammertoe. Hammertoes, which can affect any toe but the big toe, are often most uncomfortable at the top of the toes where they rub against shoes. There are two types of hammertoes, and they are both affected by the toe’s mobility. Flexible hammertoes can be manually straightened out, but rigid hammertoes cannot be straightened out and they are very painful and limited in movement. Patients who are struggling with a hammertoe should make sure their shoes have a high and wide toe box to give the toes enough space. Persistent hammertoes should be checked by a podiatrist for possible treatment options that may include surgery.
Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact one of our podiatrists of The Foot and Ankle Associates of North Carolina, PLLC. Our doctors will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.
Hammertoe is a foot deformity that occurs due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight. It can be caused by the type of shoes you wear, your foot structure, trauma, and certain disease processes.
- Painful and/or difficult toe movement
- Joint stiffness
- Physical deformity
- Age – The risk of hammertoe increases with age
- Sex – Women are more likely to have hammertoe compared to men
- Toe Length – You are more likely to develop hammertoe if your second toe is longer than your big toe
- Certain Diseases – Arthritis and diabetes may make you more likely to develop hammertoe
If you have hammertoe, you should change into a more comfortable shoe that provides enough room for your toes. Exercises such as picking up marbles may strengthen and stretch your toe muscles. Nevertheless, it is important to seek assistance from a podiatrist in order to determine the severity of your hammertoe and see which treatment option will work best for you.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Ahoskie, Durham, Raleigh, and Rocky Mount, NC. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.