Hammertoes are a common foot problem. A hammertoe is a condition that affects the joints on your toes. This can be seen in one or more toes at a time. The hammertoe indicates when a joint is pointing upwards instead of lying flat. A hammertoe can be very painful itself but it can also lead to other foot and ankle problems.
A hammertoe can lead to corns, callouses even wounds in patients if they are left untreated. This can be especially dangerous in diabetic patients. A sore left untreated can lead to infections and even amputations.
Types of Hammertoes:
These types describe the severity of the hammertoe. Often, patients can use pads and other accommodative measures to reduce the pain in flexible hammertoe. The more rigid they are, usually the more painful they are.
What Causes Hammertoes
The most common cause of hammertoes is shoes, namely, high heels. If you wear high heels, greater than 2 inches, you are most likely to suffer from hammertoes. Also, the amount of time spent in high heels will become a factor.
Genetics, ill-fitting shoes, diabetes, and trauma can also cause hammertoes to form. Hammertoes will likely worsen over time. They will “go away” or get better on their own.
Treatment for Hammertoes
Treatment for hammertoes can vary depending on the pain. For some, conservative, accommodative treatments can alleviate pain for some time. However, this only addresses the symptoms and not the cause.
Surgery is the most common and effective treatment for hammertoes. After surgery, your doctor will likely recommend custom orthotics, proper shoes, and a plan to reduce the amount of time spent in high heels.
While wearing high heels is common and many women will not easily give it up, you can reduce the amount of time you wear them. Wear a pair of comfortable shoes as you travel to work or an event and change once you arrive. Wear heels with a height capacity of 2 inches when possible. Also, consider the amount of time you will be walking in the shoes.