Our feet endure a lot of stress, every day, seldom complaining or making any noise. While, in general, our feet stand up to the abuse quite well, the story is not the same for those with hammertoe. Fortunately, there are several levels of treatment available, depending on the severity of the pain and other dynamics. The first, and one of the most important steps, however, is consulting an orthopedic surgeon. The physicians participating in the Texas Health Spine and Orthopedic Center referral line treat various foot and ankle conditions including hammer toe. Continuing on the subject, in this blog post, we discuss hammer toe causes and treatment options.
What is Hammertoe?
In the most basic terms, this condition causes your toe to bend at the first joint, often because of muscle weakness putting unbalanced pressure on tendons in the toe. The change is noticeable because the toe bends upward, so that it resembles a hammer. This generally occurs with the second, third, or fourth toes.
In some situations, it’s necessary to schedule foot surgery to correct the position of the toe and joint. When you experience hammer toe, it’s common for calluses and corns to develop due to friction from the shoe. This problem can be worse if you wear shoes that don’t fit well or wear shoes that are too narrow at the front.
What are the Causes of Hammertoe?
It’s possible for some people to develop hammertoe due to wearing high heels too often. This pushes the toes down into the front of the shoe. Muscles grow weak due to the odd position and the lack of movement. Those muscles are unable to straighten the toe when you have your shoes off.
People who have unusually long bones in one or more of their toes are prone to developing hammertoe. People may suffer from “flexible” hammertoe (in the early stages) but this can develop into “rigid” hammertoe as time passes. If you suspect you have this problem, in the early stages, consult a foot specialist.
What are the Treatment Options for Hammertoe?
Nonsurgical treatments for hammertoe include changing shoes, orthotics or stretching exercises. If conservative treatments don’t provide relief the surgeon may suggest surgery to release the tendon or possibly a joint resection. When the toe is in its proper position, pins may be used to keep your toe in place. These will be removed after the healing and recovery period ends. Many times, surgery can be completed on an outpatient basis. Recovery can take several weeks, depending on the health of the individual and the procedure used.
The Texas Health Spine and Orthopedic Center can connect you with a number of reputable orthopedic surgeons who specialize in this type of surgery and participate in the referral line. To schedule an appointment with a specialist near you, simply call 888 608 4762 or fill out our contact form and we will get back with you, shortly. Alternatively, book an appointment online.
NOTE: Physicians who are members of the referral program practice independently and are not employees or agents of Texas Health Spine and Orthopedic.