Hammertoes ae a common foot deformity affecting millions of adult Americans. Painful and progressive, hammertoes require accurate treatment. In Novato, CA Dr. Adam Collins is is board qualified in foot surgery as well as reconstructive rearfoot and ankle surgery by the American Board of Foot and Ankle surgeons.
How hammertoes happen?
Hammertoes affect the second through fifth toes. Basically, they are malformations occurring at the first toe joint, making the toe look like a claw or V.
Some hammertoes are flexible, at least early on in their development. Many are, or become, rigid, seriously impacting patients with pain, redness, swelling, corn and callus formation, and eventually, impaired range of motion and mobility.
These factors create the conditions conducive to hammertoe formation:
- Tight, narrow, high-heeled shoes (women tend to develop hammertoes more often than men do, says the American Podiatric Medical Association)
- Muscular imbalances in the foot, especially toeing-in and other gait problems
- Trauma to the foot
Diagnosis and treatment
At the first sign of pain and development of other symptoms, Dr. Adam Collins asks patients to come in for a podiatric examination and X-rays at Novato Advanced Foot & Ankle. With a definite diagnosis, he will develop a treatment plan to relieve symptoms and increase mobility and range of motion in the affected toe.
Interventions may include:
- Over the counter ibuprofen for pain
- Wider shoes with lower heels and roomier toe boxes
- Corn and callus pads
- Cortisone injections to relieve inflammation
- Customized shoe orthotics (inserts) to stabilize foot motion and balance musculature
Some patients require foot surgery, relieving the contracture and bony bump on the first toe joint. Additionally, hammertoes often co-exist with other foot deformities such as bunions. Your foot doctor may recommend repairing both problems with one surgery.