Hammertoes are a result of muscle imbalances in the foot. The imbalance causes the hammertoe to form when the middle joint of the toe is bent and becomes stuck in this bent position. This condition can be very painful and make it difficult to wear shoes without irritation. Our Bethesda foot clinic explains more below.
Hammertoes are caused by a muscle imbalance that puts excess pressure on the joints in the toes. There are a few causes of muscle imbalances that can lead to hammertoes, including:
There are two types of hammertoes: rigid and flexible. Flexible hammertoes simply can still be moved at the joint area, meaning it is less advanced and will be more responsive to simple treatments. Rigid hammertoes can no longer be moved at the joint, meaning it is harder to treat and it is possible that surgery will be required to correct the problem.
Anyone with muscle imbalances in their feet is at risk for hammertoes. Additionally, people who wear shoes that don’t fit properly put themselves at risk; this includes high-heeled shoes that push the toes forward and shoes that are too small.
It’s important to note that individuals with diabetes should be cautious and contact our podiatrist immediately if they develop hammertoes. Hammertoes can be a serious issue for someone with diabetes, as they can lead to a foot ulcer or infection.
Our podiatrist will examine your feet to determine if you have hammertoes. Treatments include hammertoe pads to prevent excess pressure on the toes, wider shoes, foot exercises, and ice packs to relieve pain and swelling. If these methods don’t resolve the hammertoe, surgery may be needed.
The information provided in this article is not meant to be medical advice and is for educational purposes only. If you would like to learn more about this and other topics related to podiatry, feel free to contact The Podiatry Center, with convenient podiatry offices located in Bethesda by calling 301.660.8225 or by clicking here.