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Hammer Toe: An Overview
- Dr. Ahmadi
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Hammer toe is a condition that causes the toe to become bent at an angle at the middle joint of the toe. It is an uncomfortable condition that makes the top of the middle joint on the toe rub against shoes or socks. Individuals who suffer from hammer toe may become unbalanced and have trouble walking. While hammer toe can be the result of a few different factors, it is most often caused by wearing the wrong type of shoes for extended periods.
What causes hammer toe?
The most common cause of hammer toe is injury to the toe as a result of wearing the wrong type of shoes. This can cause the toe to become bent at an angle and can even cause it to become permanently stuck in that position. It is also possible for individuals to inherit a tendency for hammer toe. Women are more likely to suffer from hammer toe than men because high-heeled shoes can cause the toes to bend at unnatural angles.
What are the symptoms of hammer toe?
Individuals with toes that are stuck in an uncomfortable position typically have hammer toe. The toe remaining bent despite attempts to move it is another symptom of hammer toe, along with pain while wearing closed-toe shoes, swollen or red toes, and pain underneath the bent toe or in the ball of the foot. Hammer toe can occur in any of the toes, but it is most likely to affect the big toe.
How is hammer toe treated?
There is no specific treatment or drug that can treat hammer toe. Usually, a change in shoes is recommended first. Some doctors might suggest the use of specialized pads worn under the toes or custom foot orthotics to help. Additionally, physical therapy might help to relieve pressure that is making the toe stay bent at an angle. Gentle massage to the area can help to release tension, and pain medications can ease pain enough that walking comfortably is possible again. A podiatrist can help recommend the best treatment and even provide ideas for good posture and shoe fittings.
Above all, practicing good posture and wearing properly fitted shoes can help to keep hammer toe from returning once it has healed. If you are suffering from foot and ankle pain contact Dr. Ahmadi at Orange County Foot and Ankle today for a comprehensive consultation.