Hammertoes & Mallet Toes treatment in the Harris County, TX: Willowbrook, Lakewood Forest, Jersey Village, Louetta, Klein, Hedwig Village, Cypress (Bridgeland), Memorial, Copperfield Place (Park Row), and Northwest Houston areas

Hammertoes Causes, Risks, Prevention and Treatment

Hammertoes are a common foot deformity in which the toes bend downward at the middle joint. This gives the toes a claw or hammer-like appearance. Beyond aesthetic concerns about the appearance of the toes, this condition can also be painful. The toes may become stiff or immobile at the joints, cause pain during movement, become swollen, red, or inflamed, and make wearing shoes uncomfortable as the tops of the toes rub against the shoes, leading to corns and calluses.

Hammertoes are thought to be caused by a muscle imbalance in the toes, which puts increased pressure on the toe’s tendons and joints. This muscle imbalance may be caused by genetic differences in the structure of your foot, wearing shoes that are too tight, small, or narrow, have no arch support, or have excessively high heels, neuromuscular diseases, and injury to the toes.

Without treatment, hammertoes become progressively worse over time. Treatment for flexible hammertoes, which retain mobility at the joint, is usually conservative and may include making footwear modifications, wearing orthotics, taking medications to reduce pain and inflammation, and padding corns and calluses that have developed on the toes. Rigid hammertoes, which have caused the toes to become completely stiff and immobile at the joint, may require surgery to straighten them.

If you have hammertoes, please seek the care of a podiatrist.

Hammertoes (FAQs)

What is hammertoe?
A hammertoe is a type of deformity in which the second, third, fourth, or pinky toes are bent downwards at the middle joint. This gives the toe a hammer-like shape, hence the name. In its early stages, a hammertoe may be flexible and can be straightened. Over time, the affected toe can lose its flexibility and become permanently fixed in a bent position. 
What are the symptoms of hammertoe?
Other than its characteristic hammer-like shape, symptoms of a hammertoe may include pain, inflammation, redness, a burning sensation, joint stiffness, and corns and calluses on the affected toes. In severe cases, open sores can form on the toes as they rub up against your shoes. Symptoms may be mild at first but can get worse over time. 
What causes hammertoe?
Hammertoe is typically caused by a muscle and tendon imbalance, which leads to the toe bending. This problem can be made worse by wearing shoes that are too tight and narrow, particularly in the toe area. In some cases, injury or trauma to the toes can lead to hammertoe. This condition can also be genetic.
Can hammertoe go away on its own?
Hammertoe can not go away without treatment. It typically gets worse over time, although the rate at which it worsens varies from person to person. Seeking treatment is important to stop or slow the progression, relieve symptoms, and - if needed - to straighten the affected toes. 
What are the treatments for hammertoe?
In mild and moderate cases, especially if the affected toes are still flexible, conservative treatments are suggested. These can include footwear and activity modifications, wearing orthotics, and taking medications to relieve pain and inflammation. In more severe cases, where the affected toes have become very painful, rigid, or has open sores, surgery may be recommended. 

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