Hammertoe is a common foot deformity in which one or more of the four smaller toes bend downward at the middle joint, causing the affected toes to have a hammer-like shape. This condition can cause pain and discomfort that progressively worsens over time. The tops of the toes may develop corns or calluses as they rub against the inside of your shoes when walking. Diagnosing and treating hammertoe early is important, as the deformity can eventually become permanent. Your podiatrist will usually be able to diagnose hammertoe through physical examination alone. However, they may suggest an X-ray if they suspect that you could have arthritis or another condition that might be responsible for the hammertoe. In rarer cases, where the hammertoe is extremely painful, your doctor might also recommend that a fluid sample be taken from the joint to check for signs of infection or gout. If you have painful hammertoe, please seek the care of a podiatrist.
Hammertoe is a foot deformity that affects the joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes of your feet. It is a painful foot condition in which these toes curl and arch up, which can often lead to pain when wearing footwear.
- Pain in the affected toes
- Development of corns or calluses due to friction
- Contracture of the toes
Genetics – People who are genetically predisposed to hammertoe are often more susceptible
Arthritis – Because arthritis affects the joints in your toes, further deformities stemming from arthritis can occur
Trauma – Direct trauma to the toes could potentially lead to hammertoe
Ill-fitting shoes – Undue pressure on the front of the toes from ill-fitting shoes can potentially lead to the development of hammertoe
Orthotics – Custom made inserts can be used to help relieve pressure placed on the toes and therefore relieve some of the pain associated with it
Medications – Oral medications such as anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs could be used to treat the pain and inflammation hammertoes causes. Injections of corticosteroids are also sometimes used
Surgery – In more severe cases where the hammertoes have become more rigid, foot surgery is a potential option
If you have any questions please contact our office located in Boston, MA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.