The Differences Between Hammertoes and Bunions


 By Center for Podiatric Medicine
 March 16, 2017
 Category: Foot Health
 Tags: bunions   hammertoes  
Not sure if you have a hammertoe or a bunion? River North, IL, podiatrists - Dr. Mark Jones, Dr. Bryan Hersh, Dr. Michael Lacey and Dr.  George Tsoutsouris - explain the difference.

What is a hammertoe?

A hammertoe causes the first joint of your toe to bend at a right angle. If you look at the toe from the side, it looks a little like a hammer. The condition can affect any toe except your big toe. You're more likely to develop a hammertoe if you have an imbalance in your toe muscles, experienced a toe injury, have arthritis or wear shoes that are too tight. Tight shoes not only cause hammertoe, but can make your symptoms worse. When your bent toe rubs against the top of your shoe, corns and calluses tend to form.

Applying cushions and corn pads to your toe will help reduce pain and pressure, but you'll also want to buy shoes that offer more room in the toe box. You may be able to push your toe into its usual position with your finger when a hammertoe first forms. Unfortunately, if you don't treat the problem when your toe is still flexible, it may eventually become rigid.

When you visit the Center for Podiatric Medicine in River North or our other convenient locations, our foot doctors may also recommend toe exercises to stretch your muscles, prescription orthotics or surgery if more conservative treatments don't improve your condition.

What is a bunion?

Unlike hammertoes, bunions only affect the big toe. The problem occurs when the bones in your foot become misaligned. When the bones move out of their normal position, you'll see a bump at the bottom of your big toe. Bunions are common in women who wear high heels, but can also occur if you frequently wear tight shoes, have arthritis in your foot or have a foot imbalance.

If you have bunion pain, changing the type of shoes you wear and taking over-the-counter pain medications can help ease your symptoms. Orthotics and night splints can also be helpful because these devices help realign your foot. If your bunion is severe, you may need surgery to correct your alignment problem.

Are you concerned about foot pain? Your River North, IL, podiatrists at the Center for Podiatric Medicine offer treatments that help you get back on your feet again. Make an appointment by calling one of these offices: Schaumburg, IL, (847) 352-1473, River North, Chicago, IL, (312) 923-1100, Elmhurst, IL, (630) 782-9600, Highland, IN, (219) 923-9090 or St. John, IN, (219) 627-2955.

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