If one of your toes is oddly bent downward and it’s been stuck that way for a while, chances are you have hammertoe. All of your other toes might be straight, but the affected one juts up in the middle like a camel’s hump. Some say your toe looks like a hammer, which is where the name comes from. Hammertoe most often affects the middle joint of your second toe (the one closest to your big toe) but it can occur in your third or fourth toe as well. It can happen to more than one toe at a time, as well.
The tell-tale sign of hammertoe is that awkward bending of your toe’s middle joint. Your toe may be difficult or impossible to move. There may be swelling, redness, and pain. Your may see corns develop on top or at the tip of your bent toe.
Causes of Hammertoe
- Tight-fitting shoes. Women especially, take note: constantly forcing your feet into narrow or pointed toe boxes is a leading cause of hammertoe.
- A mechanical problem, which could mean something amiss with your bones, a muscle issue, or a problem with your arch.
- Genetics. Hammertoe can be something you’re predisposed to getting because of your family history.
Early Treatment for Hammertoe
The most important thing to note is that hammertoe is much more easily treated early on, so do not hesitate to contact the podiatrists at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland at the first sign of any symptoms. Toes that are just beginning to show a deformity can be straightened through stretching exercises, taping together of toes, changing your shoe size, wearing custom orthotic inserts, and applying protective pads to help with corns.
Surgical Intervention May be Necessary
If your condition has been around for a long time, it’s possible that it’s too late to try conservative treatments. You may be looking at surgery as the only option to return your toe to its normal, flat state.
Trust the expertise of podiatrists Dr. Craig B. Frey or Dr. Megan L. Otlmann to straighten out your hammertoe and to answer all of your toe, foot, and ankle questions with precision, care and respect. We invite you to visit us at our beautiful office in Solon. Call us at (440) 903-1041 or make an appointment online.