Houston Hammertoe Foot Specialist Speaks

What is a hammertoe?

It is the bending of one or two joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toe of the foot. The bending is abnormal and puts pressure on the toes causing other foot problems to develop. The condition usually starts mildly and progresses over time. In the initial stage, hammertoes are flexible and can be managed with conservative measures through Hammertoe Treatment Houston. However, if nothing is done in the initial stages the hammertoes become rigid and non-responsive to non-surgical treatment. So early interventions are recommended as they can get better before visiting a Houston hammertoe surgeon.

What causes hammertoes?

There are several causes of hammertoes but the common cause is poor fitting shoes and the way the foot function during walking. For example; if the foot is too mobile and the tendons are forced to control the toe movements over time they cause increased pulling that will cause hammertoes condition. In other cases, the overuse or trauma to the toes can predispose to hammertoes. Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and neuromuscular conditions are more likely to develop hammertoes.

Why are women at risk of developing the problem?

Sure, hammertoes are more common in women than men because women wear tight and narrow shoes at the toes and shoes with a heel height. High-heeled shoes are stylish but they put pressure on the joints of the toes and predispose the problem. Almost 95% of patients with foot conditions wear the wrong size shoes. Also, anyone who is from a family with a history of hammertoe development is at risk of developing the condition.

What are some of the symptoms of the hammertoe condition?

  • Discomfort and irritation of the affected areas when wearing shoes.
  • Contracture of the toes at the joints.
  • Calluses and corns may develop on the toes, the ball of the foot, and between two toes. Corns will form due to constant friction against the footwear and may be soft or hard depending on their location.
  • A burning sensation, inflammation, and redness.
  • In severe cases, you might have open sores.

Do we need a diagnosis?

Yes, although they are visible it is important to obtain a thorough history of the foot condition and have the foot examined. During the physical examination, the Houston hammertoe foot specialist will manipulate the foot and study the contractures of the toes. Then X-rays are conducted to determine the degree of deformities and assess the changes to the toe joints that have occurred. After evaluation, a treatment plan is developed to suit your needs.

What are the methods used in the treatment of hammertoes?

There are various treatment options available but they are administered in consideration of the severity of your hammertoe and other factors.

  • Changes in footwear: It should be the first intervention in hammertoe condition. Get shoes with a roomy toe box and the heels should not be higher than two inches. They will feel more comfortable and will have a chance to reverse the symptoms.
  • Orthotic devices: A podiatrist should give a customized orthotic device that will be placed in the shoe to control the tendon and muscle imbalance.
  • Padding the calluses and corns: Your podiatrist will provide pads designed to shield the corns from irritation.
  • Pain medications: It is recommended you can take some ibuprofen to reduce inflammation and pain.