Hammertoes is a common foot deformity that causes one or more of your middle toes to freeze in a curved, hammerhead-like shape. Left unmanaged, hammertoes can cause pain and negatively affect your mobility. At his eponymous practice in 3rd Avenue, New York City, board-certified podiatrist, Lionel G. Hausman, DPM, regularly diagnoses and treats hammertoes using safe, effective means. To request your hammertoes consultation today, call the office or book an appointment online today.
Hammertoe and mallet toe are two foot deformities that occur due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments responsible for holding your toe straight. A hammertoe is a bend in the middle of your toe, while a mallet toe affects the toe joint nearest the nail.
Several factors increase your risk of hammertoes, including the type of shoes you wear and the structure of your foot. You’re also more likely to experience a hammertoe or mallet toe if you suffer a crush injury, stub your toe, or develop a chronic condition such as rheumatoid arthritis.
The most obvious symptom of a hammertoe or mallet toe is an abnormal bend in the middle joint of one or more toes. You might also notice that moving your toe is painful or difficult. Because hammertoes change the position of your toes, they also cause corns and calluses. Corns and calluses occur when your skin rubs against your shoes or socks.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent hammertoes entirely. However, there are things you can do to lower your risk. Dr. Hausman recommends:
You should also double check your shoe size. As you get older, the width of your foot changes. If your shoes are too tight or they squeeze your foot, you’re more likely to experience a hammertoe.
To diagnose hammertoe or mallet toe, Dr. Hausman carefully examines your feet and toes. He might also ask you to stand up, sit down, and walk around the exam room to observe your gait and posture. Dr. Hausman also orders a series of X-rays to get a closer look at the bones and joints in your feet and toes.
Treatment for hammertoes depends on the severity of the symptoms you’re experiencing. Usually, Dr. Hausman recommends healthy lifestyle changes such as wearing roomier, more comfortable shoes or using heel pads or inserts. He might also recommend at-home exercises like lifting marbles with your toes to strengthen and stretch out your toe muscles.
If these measures don’t ease your symptoms, surgical intervention may be necessary. During hammertoe surgery, Dr. Hausman carefully releases the tendon preventing your toe from lying flat. He might also remove a piece of bone to help straighten your toe.
Don’t let hammertoes prevent you from living a mobile, active lifestyle. Request an appointment with Lionel G. Hausman, DPM, today by calling the office or clicking the online scheduling tool.