A condition we see quite frequently at Paul Klein, DPM FACFAS is hammertoe. This condition can affect the second, third, fourth or fifth toe and is obvious by its hammer-like appearance which is caused by a contracture of the one or both joints in the toe. There are multiple causes and treatments but one thing all hammertoes have in common is that they are a progressive disorder. Without treatment, a hammertoe will only get worse.
What Causes this Toe Deformity?
The most common cause of hammertoe is a muscle/tendon imbalance which can occur over time in some patients due to structural or neurological changes in the feet and toes. Other possible reasons for a hammertoe to develop include:
- A trauma or injury to the toe
- One toe being longer than the others and consistently pushing up against the front of shoes
Our podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein, will first want to examine your toe and get a complete medical history. In most cases, an x-ray will be taken. This will enable the foot doctor to see how far the hammertoe has progressed and will also serve as a baseline to monitor future changes to the toe. Depending on the severity of the condition, the foot doctor has a number of treatment options available including:
- Medication—oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed or corticosteroid injections to relieve inflammation and pain
- Shoe Modifications—for increased comfort, look for designs with roomy not narrow toe boxes, and low heels
- Custom Orthotics—to help correct the muscle/tendon imbalance
- Splinting/Strapping—to realign the toe into the correct position
Sometimes corns may form on the top of the toe or a callus on the ball of the foot as a result of the repeated rubbing and pressure from shoes. If this is the case, the foot doctor will also treat those and may recommend padding to protect those areas going forward.
If you have noticed that one of your toes is beginning to turn downwards or if you have had a hammertoe for a while, contact our Wayne office today by calling: 973-595-1555 and put yourself on the road to relief.