Hammer toe Diagnosis & Treatment
Hammertoes get their name due to the abnormal appearance of the toe, in which it bends down like a hammer. A hammertoe’s shape is formed by a deformed bending in the toe’s middle joint. There are many factors that play into how hammertoes form. Trauma to the toe, such as stubbing, jamming, or breaking it, can make the toe more susceptible to developing into a hammertoe. Age and gender also influence the likelihood of getting a hammertoe. Women have also been known to be more likely to develop a hammertoe compared to men. You are also more likely to develop this condition as you age. Certain diseases, such as arthritis and diabetes, have been known to influence the likelihood of forming a hammertoe.
Common Causes of hammer toes
The shoes that are most likely to cause hammertoe are high heeled shoes or shoes that are too tight in the toe box. Tight shoes will force your toes to crowd together in a curled position. This position will likely continue when you take your shoes off. Another cause of hammertoes is trauma. When you stub your toe, for example, you are increasing your chance of developing a hammertoe. This condition can be due to genetics or your foot structure in general.
Hammertoes can be painful as well as incredibly uncomfortable. To help ease these symptoms, it may be beneficial to wear orthotics. Custom orthotics are used to help realign the toe structure and aid in the process of healing. Certain injections may be recommended by a podiatrist as well to help alleviate the pain. To prevent being afflicted by this condition, it’s recommended that you wear shoes that leave enough room for your toes and continually change your footwear as your feet change in size.
To diagnose someone with hammertoe, your podiatrist will need to conduct a thorough examination of your foot. Your doctor may even order an x-ray to evaluate the bones and joints of your feet and toes.
If you would like more information on hammertoes and how to best treat the condition, we recommend you speak with a board certified podiatrist for professional care and advice.