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Medical Offices of Manhattan

What is Hammertoe?

Hammertoe is a condition where there is an abnormal bending or contracture of the toes, typically affecting the second, third, or fourth toes.

What Are The Causes of Hammertoe?

Hammertoe can be caused by various factors, including muscular imbalances, foot structure abnormalities (such as high arches or flat feet), wearing improper footwear, previous toe trauma or injury, and certain forms of arthritis. Addressing the underlying causes and seeking proper treatment is important to prevent the progression of hammertoe.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms of Hammertoe?

The signs and symptoms of hammertoe typically include:

  • Toe deformity: The affected toe appears bent or curled, resembling a hammer or claw.
  • Pain or discomfort: The bent toe may cause pain or discomfort, especially when wearing shoes or applying pressure.
  • Corns and calluses: Due to friction and pressure from footwear, corns and calluses may develop on the top, side, or bottom of the affected toe.
  • Limited flexibility: The bent toe may have reduced flexibility and difficulty straightening or moving.
  • Redness and swelling: Inflammation and swelling can occur around the affected toe joint.
  • Difficulty finding properly fitting shoes: The toe deformity can make it challenging to find shoes that accommodate the bent toe, resulting in discomfort and limited footwear options.

What Are The Risk Factors of Hammertoe?

Several risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing hammertoe. These include:

  • Foot structure: Certain foot structures, such as having high arches or flat feet, can make individuals more prone to developing hammertoe.
  • Genetics: There may be a genetic predisposition to hammertoe, as it can run in families.
  • Gender: Women are more likely to develop hammertoe compared to men, possibly due to wearing high-heeled and narrow-toed shoes more frequently.
  • Improper footwear: Wearing shoes that are too tight, narrow, or have high heels can force the toes into abnormal positions, increasing the risk of hammertoe.
  • Age: The risk of hammertoe tends to increase with age, as the foot structures and tissues can weaken over time.
  • Toe trauma: Previous toe injuries or trauma, such as stubbing or breaking a toe, can contribute to the development of hammertoe.
  • Certain medical conditions: Conditions like arthritis, diabetes, and nerve disorders can increase the risk of developing hammertoe.

It’s important to note that while these risk factors may increase the chances of developing hammertoe, they do not guarantee its occurrence.

How is Hammertoe Diagnosed?

Hammertoe is typically diagnosed through a physical examination by a podiatrist. The doctor will assess the affected toe’s appearance, flexibility, and range of motion. They may also inquire about symptoms and medical history. In some cases, X-rays may be ordered to evaluate the severity of the deformity and to rule out other potential conditions. This comprehensive evaluation helps determine the presence of hammertoe and guides appropriate treatment planning.

What Are Possible Treatments For Hammertoe?

Treatment options for hammertoe include non-surgical approaches like wearing proper footwear, using padding or orthotic devices, performing toe exercises, and taking pain relievers. Other options include medications, shoe modifications, corn and callus management, injections, and surgical intervention if necessary.

Are There Preventative Steps or Measures To Avoid Hammertoe?

To prevent hammertoe, follow these measures: wear proper footwear with a wide toe box and good arch support, perform toe exercises and stretches, maintain a healthy weight, limit the use of high-heeled shoes, use protective padding if necessary, practice good foot hygiene and regular foot care, ensure shoes fit properly and provide enough toe space, and regularly check your feet for any abnormalities, seeking professional care when needed.

What Are The Risks If Hammertoe Are Left Untreated?

If left untreated, hammertoe can result in increased pain, discomfort, difficulty finding proper footwear, reduced mobility and flexibility, worsening deformity, open sores or ulcers, and foot and gait abnormalities.

Are There Other Related Conditions To Hammertoe?

Hammertoe can be associated with related conditions such as claw toe, mallet toe, metatarsalgia (ball of the foot pain), corns and calluses, and bunions (hallux valgus). Seeking medical evaluation can help diagnose and address these conditions, providing appropriate treatment options.

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Medical Offices of Manhattan is one of NYC's leading multi-specialty medical groups. Located in Midtown East, Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Medical Offices of Manhattan specializes in Primary Care, Cardiology, Dermatology, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, and Podiatry. Medical Offices of Manhattan uses the most innovative methods... Learn More »