Hammertoe is usually a sign you need to change your footwear. If left untreated, the deformity can eventually make walking or even bending your toe difficult. At Woodlake Podiatry, LLC, in Chesterfield, Missouri, board-qualified podiatrist Sheryl Hanawalt, DPM, provides conservative and surgical treatment as needed to correct hammertoe. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone.
Hammertoe is a joint deformity that can affect the middle joint of your second, third, fourth, or pinky toe. It causes the affected toe to curl downward instead of pointing straight ahead, resembling a hammer.
Hammertoe starts out as a mild bend and often gets worse over time. Your choice of footwear often is to blame.
Many people with the hammertoe regularly wear shoes that are too tight or have pointy toes, including high heels, and the deformity gets worse when they continue to wear those shoes.
You’re more likely to develop hammertoe and other foot deformities if you have certain diseases, such as diabetes and arthritis. Further, some people have a foot structure that makes them more prone to developing certain problems. For example, you’re more likely to develop hammertoe if your second toe is longer than your big toe.
Sometimes, hammertoe doesn’t cause symptoms beyond a change in appearance to the affected toe. However, you may experience significant pain or difficulty walking. When left untreated, hammertoe may make it impossible to bend the affected toe at the joint.
Hammertoe also increases your risk of developing additional foot problems, including corns, calluses, and bunions.
Many cases of hammertoe respond to conservative treatments, especially if you catch the deformity early on. If you can easily bend the affected toe at the joint, you can likely correct hammertoe by making small changes to your habits.
Dr. Hanawalt determines the cause of your hammertoe. If your footwear is at fault, she advises you on comfortable, roomy footwear.
You may need to avoid wearing high heels or shoes without laces, which can crowd your toes. Shoe inserts, including customized orthotics, may be sufficient to realign your toe. During this process, you can manage the pain of hammertoe with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication.
If your hammertoe is advanced and doesn’t respond to conservative treatment, Dr. Hanawalt may recommend minimally invasive surgery to correct the deformity. This is an outpatient procedure that involves removing a small portion of the joint or bone and then repositioning the toe.
To get treatment for hammertoe, call Woodlake Podiatry or use the online booking tool.