Staying Ahead of the Game with Hammertoes
When you take off your shoes and socks and examine your toes, do they resemble little hammers curled and bent downward? If your answer is yes, you most likely have a condition called “hammertoe.” For some, this condition is more unsightly than it is painful, although with it being progressive in nature, if hammertoes are ignored and left untreated, the end game is a painful condition possibly requiring surgical intervention.
Drs. Joel W. Brook & David R. Northcutt, podiatrists at Dallas Podiatry Works explain that hammertoes occur as a result of a muscle imbalance between tendons on the top and bottom of the toes. The imbalance leads to a bending of the toe resulting from structural changes in the foot. Hammertoe affects the second, third, fourth or fifth toes and as stated they usually begin as mild deformities of the toes. In the beginning stages they are typically flexible but when left untreated, hammertoes can become more rigid which makes treatment more difficult.
A secondary problem that occurs with many who suffer from hammertoes is corns and/or calluses. Because the toes end up in a bent position, the tops of toes can rub against shoes and get corns that form. When toes press down on the bones behind the toes, the ball of the foot is then at risk for developing calluses.
Hammertoes will not go away by themselves, so being in regular contact with a podiatrist is essential to maintain good foot health. Fortunately, there are several measures that can be taken to help alleviate pain and delay more serious concerns:
- Pads can be provided to alleviate the irritation from corns and calluses.
- Changing footwear to shoes with low or no heels and roomy toe boxes.
- Custom orthotic devices that can be put right inside your shoes.
- Stretching exercises that your podiatrist can provide.
When a hammertoe is still flexible, surgical repair s often simpler than when it has become rigid, so early evaluation and intervention is prudent.
If you reside in the Dallas, TX or Plano, TX areas, Dallas Podiatry Works is the most trusted and reliable option for diagnosis and treatment of any foot condition. Contact Dr. Joel Brook at 972-566-7474 or Dr. David Northcutt at 972-943-3323 or visit our online contact page.
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