What is Hammertoe?
Hammertoe is a bending of the first joint in your toe. This bending of your toe makes your toe looks like an upside-down V. A Hammertoe can affect any toe but is most common in the second through fifth toes. Hammertoes are a contracture of the toes as a result of a muscle imbalance between the tendons on the top and the tendons on the bottom of the toe.
There are two types of hammertoe:
- Flexible Hammertoe: A flexible Hammertoe is less severe and easier to treat than a rigid type. When you have a flexible Hammertoe, the joint is still moveable.
- Rigid Hammertoe: Rigid Hammertoes are more serious and may require surgical treatment. This type can develop in people who have severe arthritis or those who wait too long to seek treatment for a flexible Hammertoe.
What are the Symptoms of Hammertoe?
The most noticeable symptom of a Hammertoe is an abnormal bend in the toe. Other hammertoe signs and symptoms include:
- Pain in the affected toe when wearing shoes.
- Inflammation, redness, or swelling at the joint.
- Restricted or painful motion.
- Pain at the ball of the foot below the affected toe.
What Causes Hammertoe?
Hammertoes result from an imbalance in the muscles and tendons in your toes. This imbalance increases pressure on the joints of your toe and leads to its contracture. Wearing tight shoes that squeeze your toes may aggravate a Hammertoe and cause symptoms to develop more quickly.
Injuries, arthritis, and bunions can also disrupt the muscle/tendon balance and lead to Hammertoe.
How is Hammertoe Treated?
Although Hammertoes are immediately apparent, Family Foot & Ankle Physicians thoroughly reviews your symptoms and medical history and examines your foot to diagnose the condition. You may also need a digital X-ray to evaluate the severity of your hammertoe deformity.
Family Foot & Ankle Physicians will create a treatment plan based on your condition. If your Hammertoe is still flexible, you may use non-surgical treatments, such as:
- Wearing shoes with a roomier toe box, along with custom orthotics.
- Splinting or strapping the toe.
- Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications.
If your hammertoe is rigid and painful or develops an open sore, surgery may be necessary. Family Foot & Ankle Physicians has the best foot and ankle surgeons in eastern North Carolina.
Call Family Foot & Ankle Physicians or book an appointment online as soon as you notice signs and symptoms of a Hammertoe.
Family Foot & Ankle Physicians has a primary location in Greenville, servicing cities such as Greenville, Farmville, Ahoskie, Kinston, Winterville, Tarboro, New Bern, Edenton, Washington, Rocky Mount, with patients coming from throughout eastern North Carolina and beyond.