If one or more of your toes appears with a bent shape at the joint (like the shape of a hammer), then you probably have a condition known as hammertoe, but it could also be mallet toe, which is pretty much the same thing. This condition is not always painful in the early stages, but a hammertoe can become more deformed over time, and as it presses harder against your footwear you may develop painful corns on the tops of your hammertoes.
While this condition is usually considered to be hereditary, it can also be exacerbated by other conditions such as arthritis, wearing improperly fitting shoes, and having flat feet. Traumatic injury to the toe, such as by dropping a heavy object like a laptop on it, can also aggravate this condition.
Diagnosis and treatment of hammertoes
A comprehensive foot examination by your podiatrist will determine the severity of the muscle contractions and tendon imbalance that may be causing the toe to bend improperly. X-rays and MRI’s will more accurately determine the extent of the toe deformity.
Some of the treatments your podiatrist may recommend include the following:
●Custom orthotic inserts—Orthotics address a variety of complications including imbalance between the muscle and tendon which may be the cause of the deformity.
●Splinting and strapping—These can be used to help realign the toes and force them into position.
●Cushions and padding—Store bought or specially-made pads can be used on corns to help prevent rubbing and blister formation.
●Pain relieving meds—For pain and inflammation.
●Strength and flexibility exercises—Toe stretching and flexibility exercises such as towel scrunches and marble pickups will help strengthen muscles.
If you are experiencing painful and rigid toes, you may have a hammertoe problem, so be sure to consult with our board-certified podiatrists at Foot and Ankle Center of Fort Lee, LLC. The center offers convenient locations in Fort Lee NJ, Ringwood NJ, Flushing Queens NY, Woodhaven NY, Brooklyn NY, and Forest Hills NY. Contact us at (201) 363-9844 and schedule an appointment today!