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Podiatry Blog

Posts for tag: Hammertoes

By Stonestown Podiatry Group
January 06, 2022
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Hammertoes  

Dealing with painful and achy hammertoes?

A hammertoe is a less talked about foot deformity compared to bunions, but they aren’t any less of an issue. A hammertoe causes one or more toes to bend downward, resembling a claw. Since hammertoes can cause pain and other issues, you may wish to speak with our San Francisco, CA, podiatrists Dr. Richard Rolfes and Dr. Jasper Lee about the best ways to manage your hammertoes.

The Cause of a Hammertoe

The most common reason a hammertoe forms is a muscle imbalance in the foot. Most people don’t notice this imbalance unless they visit our San Francisco, CA, podiatrists for a routine evaluation. Over time this imbalance causes the toe to bend downward and also leads to structural changes in the foot.

Once a hammertoe has formed, wearing tightly fitted shoes or shoes that force the toe into a cramped position can make this problem worse. Always opt for shoes that provide your foot with ample support and give your toes enough room to wiggle and move around.

The Symptoms of a Hammertoe

Here are some telltale signs that you may have a hammertoe,

  • One or more toes bend downward at the middle joint (the toe may resemble a claw)
  • Redness or inflammation of the affected toe
  • Pain or discomfort in the toe when wearing shoes
  • The presence of a corn or callus on the toe

Treating a Hammertoe

In most cases, people can manage their symptoms and prevent their hammertoe from progressing by using these simple nonsurgical methods,

  • Wearing protective padding: Use non-medicated padding over the affected toe to prevent corns or calluses from forming on the hammertoe, or to protect a current corn or callus from rubbing against your shoes.
  • Choose the right shoes: Wearing shoes that are too tight, that have high heels or pointed toes can make symptoms worse. Opt instead for comfortable shoes with ample space for your toes.
  • Use custom orthotics: Sometimes wearing these shoe inserts can provide comfort and support and take pressure off certain areas of the foot. This can be a great option for those dealing with a structural or muscular imbalance in the foot.
  • Take medication: Sometimes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen can temporarily reduce bouts of pain and swelling.

If the toe has become fixed in place and rigid, the only way to correct the severity of this condition is with surgery.

Dealing with foot pain due to hammertoes? If so, our San Francisco, CA, podiatrists at Stonestown Podiatry Group can help you find effective solutions for managing this common foot deformity. To schedule an evaluation, simply call us at (415) 731-6700.

By Stonestown Podiatry Group
December 17, 2020
Category: Foot Treatments
Tags: Hammertoes  

Foot health is worth preserving. At Stonestown Podiatry Group in San Francisco, CA, we treat hammertoes and other foot deformities as early as possible. Our foot doctors, Dr. Daniel Alberts, Dr. Richard Rolfes, and Dr. Jasper Lee, relieve the pain and mobility limitations characteristic of hammertoes so you can walk well and feel good.

What are hammertoes?

Hammertoes are common deformities of the second through fifth toes. Because of muscular contraction and bending of the bone at the middle joints, hammertoes look like little mallets or hammers. Over time, they worsen, causing:

  • Pain when ambulating
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Redness
  • Sores and calluses on upper surfaces of the toes as they contact the inside of shoes
  • Poor shoe fit

What causes hammertoes?

Many factors play a role in the formation and progression of hammertoes. Weak muscles and connective tissue in the toes contribute as does heredity, gender, and shoes which are cramped and tight in the toes. As such, more women than men develop hammertoes.

Additionally, people with untreated bunions often get hammertoes, too. As the big toe turns inward because of a bunion, the resulting pressure cramps the smaller toes. Over time, you develop hammertoes.

Can they be treated?

The good news is yes, hammertoes can be treated. At Stonestown Podiatry Group in San Francisco, CA, Drs. Alberts, Rolfes, and Lee inspect suspected hammertoes and take digital X-rays if deemed necessary.

Some patients require surgical straightening of their toe joints, along with corn and callus removal. These procedures improve range of motion, says the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS).

However, most people need no surgical intervention at all, responding well to measures such as:

  • Shoe padding and inserts called orthotics which correct muscular imbalances
  • Shoes with comfortable room in the toes
  • NSAIDs to relieve pain
  • Splints to straighten the toes

Let Stonestown Podiatry Group help

Hammertoes are serious, but they can be treated. If your foot structure looks different, and you have pain and soreness, please contact your podiatrist at Stonestown Podiatry Group. Dr. Daniel Alberts, Dr. Richard Rolfes, and Dr. Jasper Lee will deliver the best outcomes for you and your feet. Please contact our office in San Francisco, CA, for a consultation at (415) 731-6700.