Hammertoe: “Curling toes”
Hammertoe is a contracture of one or more joints of the second, third, fourth or fifth toes. The contracture can put pressure and cause friction on the toe when wearing closed toe shoes, thus potentially causing pain and pressure sores. Hammertoes can occur in one or multiple toes simultaneously. Hammertoes are progressive, they begin as mild flexible contractures but can become rigid deformity over time. Usually the more flexible the contracture, the better the toe responds to non-surgical treatments.
There are multiple reasons for the cause of hammertoes with the most common being tendon imbalance of the toe. This leads to bending of the toe. Other causes include, long toe, prior trauma and neurological changes in the foot.
The common symptoms include: pain and irritation of curling toes when wearing shoes, corn and callus build up at area of constant friction, redness and inflammation and open sores in severe cases.
The treatments for hammertoes range from conservative care to surgical intervention, based on varying levels of severity. Beginning with conservative treatments:
· Padding corn and calluses: Try over-the-counter pads, but avoid the medicated types as it contains small amount of acid which may irritate the skin.
· Shoewear: Choose shoes that have deep, roomy toebox to reduce friction of the hammertoes.
· Medication: Anti-inflammatory such as Ibuprofen may be used to reduce pain and inflammation.
· Splinting/strapping: May be applied by podiatrist to realign bent toe.
In some cases, when hammertoe becomes rigid and painful or an open sore develops, surgery is indicated. There are different procedures performed to correct the hammertoe. For further treatment of painful hammertoes, you should contact a foot and ankle specialist at Community Foot Specialists. For more information on hammertoes and other foot and ankle injuries, call to schedule for a consultation today at (937) 426-9500.