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What Is Hammertoe?
Hammertoe is a contracture (flexing) deformity of one or both joints of the 2nd, 3rd, fourth, or fifth (little) toes. This irregular bending can put pressure on the toe when wearing shoes, triggering problems to develop.
Normal toes untouched by hammertoe usually start as mild defects and get gradually even worse with time. In the earlier phases, hammertoes are flexible and the signs can often be managed with noninvasive steps. But if left untreated, hammertoes can end up being more rigid and will not respond to nonsurgical treatment.
Because of the progressive nature of hammertoes, they ought to receive early attention. Hammertoes never improve without some sort of intervention.
The most common reason for hammertoe is muscle/tendon imbalance. This imbalance, which causes a bending of the toe, results from mechanical (structural) or neurological modifications in the foot that occur over time in some people.
HammertoesHammertoes may be intensified by shoes that do not fit appropriately. A hammertoe might result if a toe is too long and is forced into a cramped position when a tight shoe is worn. Occasionally, hammertoe is the outcome of an earlier trauma to the toe. In some people, hammertoes are acquired.
Typical symptoms of hammertoes consist of:
Discomfort or inflammation of the impacted toe when using shoes.
Corns and calluses (a buildup of skin) on the toe, in between 2 toes or on the ball of the foot. Corns are brought on by consistent friction against the shoe. They might be soft or difficult, depending on their area.
Inflammation, redness or a burning sensation
Contracture of the toe
In more severe cases of hammertoe, open sores may form.
Although hammertoes are readily apparent, to arrive at a diagnosis, the foot and ankle surgeon will acquire an extensive history of your symptoms and analyze your foot. Throughout the health examination, the physician may try to reproduce your symptoms by controlling your foot and will study the contractures of the toes. In addition, the foot and ankle cosmetic surgeon may take x-rays to determine the degree of the defects and evaluate any changes that might have happened.
Hammertoes are progressive– they do not go away on their own and typically they will get worse over time. However, not all cases are alike– some hammertoes progress more quickly than others. When your foot and ankle cosmetic surgeon has assessed your hammertoes, a treatment plan can be developed that is fit to your needs.
There is a range of treatment alternatives for hammertoes. The treatment your foot and ankle cosmetic surgeon picks will depend upon the severity of your hammertoe and other aspects.
A variety of nonsurgical steps can be carried out:
Padding corns and calluses. Your foot and ankle surgeon can provide or recommend pads developed to shield corns from irritation. If you want to try non-prescription pads, avoid the medicated types. Medicated pads are normally not suggested because they might consist of a small amount of acid that can be hazardous. Consult your cosmetic surgeon about this alternative.
Changes in shoewear. Prevent shoes with pointed toes, shoes that are too brief, or shoes with high heels– conditions that can require your toe versus the front of the shoe. Instead, pick comfortable shoes with a deep, spacious toebox and heels no higher than two inches.
Orthotic gadgets. A custom orthotic gadget positioned in your shoe may assist manage the muscle/tendon imbalance. Injection treatment. Corticosteroid injections are sometimes utilized to reduce pain and swelling caused by hammertoe.
Medications. Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, might be recommended to lower pain and swelling. Splinting/strapping. Splints or little straps may be used by the cosmetic surgeon to realign the bent toe.
When Is Surgery Needed?
In many cases, generally when the hammertoe has become more rigid and unpleasant or when an open sore has established, surgery is needed.
Often, patients with hammertoe have bunions or other foot defects fixed at the same time. In picking the procedure or a mix of procedures for your specific case, the foot and ankle cosmetic surgeon will consider the extent of your deformity, the number of toes involved, your age, your activity level, and other elements. The length of the recovery duration will differ, depending on the treatment or procedures carried out.