When you have a muscular imbalance in your foot, the stronger muscles may pull one of your toes into a curled position, causing a condition called a hammertoe. Fortunately, the team at Rocky Mountain Foot and Ankle Center -- including expert podiatrists Matthew Paden, DPM, FACFAS, Dustin Kruse, DPM, MA, FACFAS, and Brett Sachs, DPM, FACFAS -- offer customized treatment to resolve your issue and straighten your toes. Call or schedule an appointment online today.
A hammertoe is an unnatural bend or curve in your toe that creates a hammer-like shape. The abnormal curve can lead to issues like corns and calluses and can bring foot pain when you walk or are at rest.
The muscles in your feet work in pairs. The muscles on the bottom of your feet pull your toes into a bent position, and the upper muscles pull your toes into straight positions.
When the muscles on the bottom of your feet are stronger than those on top, they can pull your toes into curved positions that your upper muscles can’t straighten. Over time, your toe can get stuck in this position, resulting in a hammertoe.
Besides muscle imbalances, if you injure a foot or break a toe, your chances of developing a hammertoe increase. Improperly fitting shoes also contribute to hammertoe development, especially if there isn’t enough room for your toes in the toe box and you’re wearing a high heel, which increases the pressure on the front of your foot.
Women are more likely than men to develop hammertoes, and your risk increases as you age. Diseases like arthritis and diabetes can also increase your risk of having hammertoes.
The podiatrists at Rocky Mountain Foot and Ankle Center offer various treatments ranging from conservative methods to surgery, depending on your individual needs. They recommend making an appointment as soon as you notice signs of a hammertoe, as the condition only gets more severe and painful when left untreated.
Initially, your podiatrist will urge you to wear roomier shoes that have plenty of space for your toes to lie flat. He might also suggest you wear over-the-counter foam or gel pads to cushion your toes and support them. He’ll teach you stretches and exercises to reduce the muscle imbalance in your feet and toes.
Your doctor may also suggest wearing custom orthotics to address the muscular imbalance that’s pulling your toe into the hammer shape.
If conservative treatments aren’t successful, your podiatrist can correct the deformity with a surgical procedure. Numerous surgical options are available, and your podiatrist will answer your questions to help you make the best decision.
If you’re concerned about a hammertoe, call or make an appointment online today and get the treatment you need before the condition worsens.