Hammertoes and Their Causes

By Prestige Podiatry
November 02, 2021
Category: Foot Condition
Tags: Hammertoes  

Are your toes bent and causing you pain? Your Indianapolis, and Carmel, IN, podiatrist, Dr. Jeffrey Agricola of Prestige Podiatry, can help.

What Are Hammertoes

A hammertoe is a toe that has curled due to a bend in the middle joint. Hammertoe and mallet toe are foot deformities that occur due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight.

While not a medical emergency, hammertoe does worsen over time. It is necessary for people to see a doctor promptly after noticing any symptoms of hammertoe or other foot issues.

In some circumstances, a patient with a hammertoe may develop sores on the top of the middle joint of the affected toe because it is rubbing against their shoes. These sores can become infected. If there is any sign of infection, including pus, redness in the skin around the sore, or fever, you should visit your Indianapolis, and Carmel, IN, podiatrist immediately.

Getting A Diagnosis

Your podiatrist can diagnose hammertoe by examining your toes and feet. X-rays of the feet are not needed to diagnose hammertoe, but they may be useful to look for signs of some types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis or other disorders that can cause hammertoe. If the deformed toe is very painful, your doctor may recommend that you get a fluid sample from the joint so it can be checked for signs of infection.

Treatment for Mild Hammertoe

If the hammertoe is treated while the toe is still flexible, your doctor may recommend the following:

  • Exercises such as picking up marbles with the toe
  • Switching to proper footwear with low heels and a roomy toe box
  • Gently stretching the toe manually several times a day
  • Getting custom-made shoe inserts to reduce pain and stop the hammer toe from worsening
  • Using over the counter corn pads and foot straps to relieve some of the painful symptoms
  • Getting cortisone injections to relieve pain

More severe cases of hammertoe may require surgery to correct.

Contact your Indianapolis, and Carmel, IN, podiatrist, Dr. Agricola of Prestige Podiatry, to get back on your feet. Call (317) 846-4111 or (317) 881-0070 to book your appointment today.

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