A hammertoe may occur on any toe, and is a deformity that causes the toes to become contracted. It usually begins as a flexible problem, but may become fixed or rigid. They usually grow worse as time goes on.
A hammertoe will often be painful in tight shoes, but can become painful in any shoe if left long enough - and will sometimes rub against neighboring toes. Initially, simply changing shoes may be helpful, but generally this is not a long-term solution to the problem. Symptoms are commonly present as pain directly over the toe or at the end of the toe in shoes. Sometimes an area of redness or ulceration will also appear.
If you think that you may be developing a painful hammertoe, the first step is to make an appointment with your podiatrist. The doctor will start with taking a complete history and performing a foot and ankle examination, taking care to evaluate footwear, and sometimes even taking x-rays. Typically, conservative treatment is tried first and is often successful; however, sometimes surgery is necessary to correct hammertoes.
Conservative treatment approaches for hammertoes can include alteration of footgear, over the counter or prescription pads and cushions to offer relief, orthotic shoe inserts to prevent the hammertoe from worsening or regular trimming of corns and calluses associated with hammertoes.
If you are tired of dealing with the pain caused by your hammertoe, talk to our team at Arkansas Foot & Ankle Specialists. The doctor and staff will be happy to help you find the best solution for your feet, to relieve your toes of their pain and to get you back on your feet, pain free.