This abnormality can cause the joints of your middle toes to bend in the shape of a hammer, which is why they are called hammertoes. The big toe is not affected, but bunions can form in the big toe that cause severe bending. Hammertoes are thought to be caused by an imbalance between the muscles and tendons in the toes. Tightly fitting shoes, such as high heels, can contribute to this bending. Injury or arthritis in the joints can also be contributing risk factors.
Symptoms of hammertoes
Your toe will be noticeably bent and will often exhibit the following symptoms:
- Redness, tenderness to touch, and burning sensation
- Pain from chafing on footwear
- Bunions, corns and calluses may develop. Painful corns can grow on top of hammertoes
- Cuts and blisters on your toes
Treatment for hammertoes
Conservative remedies may include the following:
- Moleskin—and other pads for corns and calluses to eliminate chafing on footwear
- Orthotic shoe inserts—to isolate and cushion the toe and correct the imbalance between the tendons and muscles
- Properly fitting shoes—Get properly fitted for roomy shoes with a wide toe box and low heels
- Steroid injections—these may be recommended to reduce inflammation
- Splinting or strapping—These methods can be used to realign bent toes
- Pain relief—Ibuprofen or other NSAID for pain and swelling relief
The most effective time to treat hammertoes is in the beginning when they still have some flexibility. As they become more rigid and painful, it may be necessary to have surgery to correct the problem.
If you are experiencing problems with hammertoes, consult with your foot doctor for the best care. At E.J. Nemet Podiatry in Twinsburg, E.J. Nemet, DPM, treats a variety of foot and ankle conditions, including sports injuries, pediatric foot problems, diabetic foot complications, nerve disorders, and toenail and skin conditions. With advanced technologies and a dedicated staff, Dr. Nemet provides expert and compassionate care to patients in the Twinsburg and Beachwood areas. To contact us or to schedule an appointment, please call (234) 212-9940.