Hammertoe (contracted toe/ mallet toe) is a condition caused by a ligament and muscle imbalance around the middle joint of your toe, leaving it bent and stuck in that position. The second, third, or fourth toe are bent unnaturally. Hammertoes can result if you frequently wear high heels or shoes that are too narrow. Hammertoe more often effects women and happens in the toe nearest the big toe.
If you have diabetes or poor circulation, hammertoes can present a more serious problem. It should be looked at by a Burke, VA area podiatrist, to help you determine the best treatment option for your hammertoe case.
Hammertoe comes in two varieties: flexible and rigid. With flexible hammertoe ( the milder version) the toe is still moveable at the joint, and more treatment options are available. In the rigid hammertoe stage, the tendon's stiffness has pressed the joint out of alignment, leaving the toe unmovable. Surgery can correct this. Hammertoe is often found with other foot problems, like bunions.
Common Causes of Muscle Imbalance and Hammertoe
• Genetics: Flat feet or high arches can make your feet unstable and more prone to hammertoe.
• Arthritis: This condition affects the joints, and causes pain and stiffness.
• Toe injury: Toes can be pushed out of balance by restrictive footwear that is too pointy, too tight or too short.
Treatment for hammertoes in most cases is physical therapy and softer shoes with plenty of room in the toe box region. Dr. Ross, a Burke, VA area podiatrist may prescribe exercises for you to strengthen and stretch the muscles. A brace may be ordered that pushes the toes down allowing them to stretch out the muscles. In more severe and chronic cases of hammertoe, podiatric surgery may be an option to correct the misalignment. Burke Podiatrist, Dr. Ross can help you choose the best treatment option for your hammertoes.
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This information is not meant as medical advice. It is provided solely for education. Our practice would be pleased to discuss your unique circumstances and needs as they relate to these topics.
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