Has walking become painful due to a hammertoe? Prompt treatment of this common foot condition will relieve your pain and prevent permanent changes to your toe. Dr. Humaira Syed treats hammertoes and other foot and ankle conditions in her Wayne, Clifton, and Fort Lee, NJ, office.
What are hammertoes?
Hammertoes occur when the first or second joint of your toe bends at a right angle. The condition typically affects the second through fifth toes and is more likely to occur in women. Hammertoes are flexible initially but may become rigid if you don't receive treatment. Once the joint becomes rigid, surgery is the only effective treatment option.
What causes hammertoes?
An imbalance in the muscles and tendons of the foot is the most common cause of hammertoe. Wearing tight or ill-fitting shoes that put pressure on your toes can increase your risk your risk of developing hammertoe. If you ignore the discomfort and continue to wear tight shoes, the tendon in your toe may shorten permanently. You may be more likely to develop hammertoe if you have arthritis in your toe, suffered a toe injury, or if your second toe is longer than your big toe.
What symptoms will I experience if I have a hammertoe?
In addition to a change in the appearance of your toe, you'll probably notice that your toe hurts when you walk or wear shoes. In some cases, the pain can extend to the ball of your foot. Swelling, redness, and a burning sensation may also occur. Corns and calluses often form on the top of the toes, between the toes or on the bottom of the foot due to pressure from footwear.
What can I do to straighten my toe?
It may be possible to straighten a flexible hammertoe by doing a few exercises at home, such as picking up marbles with your toe. Exercises won't be effective if you continue to wear shoes that rub or press against your hammertoe. Choose shoes that offer ample room in the toe box.
When should I see a Wayne, Clifton, or Fort Lee podiatrist?
It's a good idea to schedule an appointment if your flexible hammertoe isn't getting any better after home treatment or your toe has become rigid. Cortisone injections and anti-inflammatory medications can be used to decrease pain, while orthotics and padding and taping your toe may be used to address foot imbalances. If your toe is rigid, surgery will be needed to straighten your toe.
Ease your hammertoe pain with a visit to the foot doctor. Call Dr. Syed at (973) 692-1111 to schedule an appointment in her Wayne, Clifton, or Fort Lee, NJ, office.