Hammertoe: Causes and Treatments


By Center for Podiatric Medicine February 14, 2014 Category: Hammertoe Tags: Ailments Podiatrist Chicago

Ill-fitting shoes and other factors can hammer away at your feet, causing hammertoe. This foot problem causes discomfort and should be taken care of once diagnosed. Read below to get some great info from the Center for Podiatric Medicine’s Chicago podiatrists.

What is hammertoe?
Also known as mallet toe, it is an abnormal bend in the joints. It can occur in more than one toe, particularly the second, third or fourth toe. Why is it called hammertoe? Well, the abnormal bend in the joint resembles the shape of a hammer. There isn’t a long list of causes for hammertoe. The common factors are related to ill-fitting shoes and trauma.

Ill-fitting shoes and hammertoe
It’s pretty common to wear the wrong shoe size. In the name of fashion, many women put too much stress hammertoeon their feet by wearing tight flats or tall heels. The same thing goes for men. Many people sport the same style or size of shoe. Worn shoes usually can tell us where we put the most pressure when we walk. For hammertoe, check and see if your shoe reveals toe-shaped ridges towards the front of the shoe. Most likely, your shoes are too small, which can increase your chances of developing hammertoe. The small shoes can constrict the toe muscles, causing an imbalance.

Foot trauma and hammertoe
From stubbing to breaking a toe, foot trauma can lead to hammertoe, although it is less common. The injury can put a stress on a toe joint. If the injury isn’t correctly taken care of, the injury can get worse. Also, coupling an injury with ill-fitting shoes will cause pain, possibly hammertoe.

Hammertoe treatment
One of the easiest ways to fix toe discomfort is to find proper fitting shoes. New shoes should be soft and roomy. Check and see which of your toes is longest and choose a shoe that is one-half inch longer than that toe. In most cases, the second toe will be longest. There are some shoes that can accommodate a hammertoe.

Choosing the right shoe would be considered a conservative method you can do without treatment. However, you may want immediate results. Your Chicago podiatrists can also provide non-invasive surgical treatment to take care of a hammertoe—it may be the best option.

The risk factors for hammertoe are typically related to age, sex and toe length. If you are suffering from hammertoe, make sure to contact podiatrists in Chicago at the Center for Podiatric Medicine, for foot treatment. The right shoe size and treatment will get you back on your feet with little to no discomfort.

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