If you’re a woman who has spent many a day at work or night on the town in sky-high stilettos, you may suffer from hammertoe, a condition where a toe becomes deformed and develops an extreme, unnatural bend in the middle of the toe.
Wearers of high heels aren’t the only ones affected by hammertoe, though. Men can deal with it too.
The knowledgeable, experienced, and caring podiatry team at South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers is always focused on your comfort and optimal foot health. They offer a wide range of treatments for many conditions — hammertoe is just one.
Their approach, however, is most thorough and based on the latest knowledge of foot conditions and successful treatments.
Aside from wearing high-heeled shoes, you’re also more at risk for hammertoe if you:
Aside from the noticeable physical joint problem associated with hammertoe, you experience discomfort with the condition too. Typical hammertoe symptoms include tightened and contracted toe tendons, which can lead to your toe becoming permanently bent.
This abnormal position then leads to developing painful calluses and corns, since your footwear is constantly rubbing up against your toe’s protruding middle joint.
Hammertoe most often affects the toe next to your big toe, but it can affect any toe at all, and it’s really the result of the imbalance of muscles surrounding your toe joint. Because of this, your ligaments and tendons make your joint contract and give your toe that inverted “V” appearance.
Further, there are two types of hammertoe — flexible and rigid. If you have the former condition, you can flatten your toe with effort if you press on it, but with the latter, your bent toe joint doesn’t budge.
It’s important to know, too, that the sooner you get treatment for flexible hammertoe, chances are lower that the problem will progress to the rigid type.
We know that high heels and tight shoes aren’t good for keeping your toes positioned well so you don’t develop hammertoe. Other types of footwear can cause problems also:
With shoes like flip-flops and certain flats, you may develop hammertoe if you have a minor arch or no arch in your feet. Pain develops as well, as your toes are doing all they can to grip the ground, paving the way for hammertoe.
Absolutely not! There are definitely styles that look good and discourage the deformity of hammertoe — the best of both worlds.
Treatments for hammertoe include a few simple approaches that serve to straighten your toe, and your footwear is key:
Shopping tips for avoiding hammertoe include looking for shoes in the late afternoon, when your feet are at their largest. Be mindful of proper fit too, and double-check your size — your feet increase in size and get wider as you get older.
Also, it’s normal for your feet to be slightly different in size no matter your age, so always buy shoes that fit the larger foot.
Padding in your shoes can discourage calluses and corns from developing on your hammertoe, while custom orthotics are the solution for some people.
These tips are meant for people with flexible hammertoe. If you’re diagnosed with rigid hammertoe, there’s a surgical solution that your doctor can discuss with you to relieve your discomfort.
Post-surgery, you can adopt the same prevention strategy as those with flexible hammertoe, so your toes remain flat and positioned ideally and comfortably.
Hammertoe is not only uncomfortable, it’s a deformity that can be embarrassing. Call the South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers office most convenient to you and schedule an appointment, or request one through our website.