Hope for Hammertoes
One day you may kick off those uncomfortable high heels in relief, only to make an even more uncomfortable discovery: a strange looking second toe that doesn’t bend properly. This is a common condition in women due to footwear that is often too tight, or that forces the toes toward the front of the shoe. Other causes for bent toes like these are heredity, diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or peripheral artery disease, injury to the toe, or periods of inaction like prolonged bed rest. Whatever the cause, these deformed toes can cause a lot of problems for your feet and your lifestyle.
What Is a Hammertoe?
The term refers to an abnormal shape of the toe, usually the second one. When toes are kept in a bent position from being forced into tight shoes, or because of nerve damage, the muscles can weaken or tighten and not work properly. Over time, the middle joint is bent up, and it forces the end of the toe down into a hammer shape that you can’t straighten out. Both the part that bends up and the tip of your toe can rub against your shoe, causing a painful corn or callus to form.
Can My Hammertoe Be Treated?
Dr. Howard Schaengold specializes in foot deformities, and he can recommend the best treatment for your problem. After examining the toes, he will ask questions to determine the cause, and possibly use x-ray technology to see the extent of the damage. If yours is a mild case, he may recommend options that you can try at home, like selecting shoe styles that allow enough room for your toes and have lower heels that don’t push your foot forward. He may suggest various pads, taping, or supports that you can try to lessen the discomfort. Exercises are often helpful to strengthen your toe muscles so they can hold your toe straighter. He may also prescribe a pain reliever if you have a lot of discomfort.
If you have developed corns or calluses, don’t try to shave them off yourself, or use over-the-counter treatments that may contain acid that will harm your skin. This is especially important if you are diabetic, or have trouble with your circulation. You could end up with even worse problems that take a long time to heal.
If your pain is severe and you are not able to go about your normal activities, surgery may be an option. This is a serious step, so be sure to ask about the different types of procedures and their effectiveness.
Where Can I Find Help for My Hammertoes?
In Sammamish, The Plateau Foot & Ankle Clinic is the place to go if your feet are giving you trouble. Dr. Howard Schaengold and his staff will answer your questions and guide you to the best solutions for your particular case. They serve patients in the Issaquah, Bellevue, Carnation, Redmond, and Snoqualmie areas as well. Call (425) 868-3338, or use the “Book an Appointment” button on the website. They will help you hammer out a solution for your foot problem!