Stopping Hammertoes in Their Tracks

Your second toe on one or both feet has begun to crook upward in the middle so that the toe looks like a drawbridge opening. It hurts to walk. You’ve developed a hammertoe. This foot deformity can cause severe pain when you put pressure on your foot. Don’t let it stop you from getting around. Seek treatment before it gets worse, and learn how to help prevent hammertoes in the future. 

Mikol Anderson, DPM at Anderson Foot and Ankle in Salt Lake City treats many patients with hammertoes and helps to remedy this painful condition. Following are tips on how you can help stop hammertoes in their tracks.  

Why did I get a hammertoe? 

Did you know that your toes contain 28 joints? The joints connect bones with muscles, tendons, and ligaments. If the muscles in your toes become unbalanced as a result of the way you walk, you can suffer from painful and even debilitating conditions, including hammertoes.

Hammertoes can occur on any of your toes except your big toe. If your toe muscles weaken, the tendons and joints are under too much pressure; the toe begins to rise upward at the joint instead of lying flat. 

Your hammertoe could have developed from a number of causes. The risk of developing hammertoes increases with age and can result from genetic factors. You're more likely to develop hammertoes if you're diagnosed with chronic health conditions such as arthritis or diabetes. If you’re a woman and have worn high heels or shoes with pointed toes for years, they’re a likely culprit. 

How can I prevent a hammertoe? 

Ill-fitting shoes and/or high heels likely contributed to your hammertoe. You can help prevent a hammertoe by changing your footwear. Flats and low heels can be beautiful and stylish. Make sure your shoes have a wide toe box. There’s no need to harm your body in the name of fashion. 

When you first notice your toes starting to bend in the middle, don’t delay; make an appointment with Dr. Anderson. A hammertoe doesn’t get better on its own. If left untreated, eventually, your hammertoe can become fixed in its bent position with the joints misaligned, requiring surgical correction. Don’t let it get to that point. 

You can recover from hammertoes in their early stages with some simple foot exercises and some lifestyle changes. In addition to changing your shoe choice to something with comfortable toe room and arch support, we recommend the following

If your toe is permanently bent, and the condition is causing difficulty walking and completing your normal daily routine, Dr. Anderson performs surgery to correct the hammertoe. He removes damaged bone and realigns the joint. 

With early treatment, you can avoid surgery and prevent your hammertoes from worsening. Call Anderson Foot and Ankle or book an appointment through our online portal today for relief from your foot pain.

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