Hammertoes are common podiatric deformities which may involve all the toes except the big toe. At University Foot Center in Columbus, OH your foot doctors, Dr. Steventon Scott Wagner and Dr. Lynette Mehl, treat hammertoes as soon as they detect them, preventing further damage and possible immobility.
You're not born with hammertoes
Hammertoes are contractures or a stiffening and bending of the second, third, fourth and fifth toes of either foot. Developing from traumatic injury or a combination of heredity, gait imbalance, and tight shoes, hammertoe deformities make toes look like little mallets. The bending and curling causes additional friction against the inside of the shoes, and thick corns and calluses may form.
Early intervention helps limit the severity of hammertoes. Left alone for too long, the toe joints may become so rigid that the toes hurt and impair walking.
Seeing a change?
If you suspect the shape of your toes is changing, please see your foot doctor at University Foot Center in Columbus. Dr. Wagner or Dr. Mehl will look at your feet, watch you walk, check the flexibility of the toe joints and take digital X-ray images to inspect the joints.
While hammertoes do worsen with time, this deterioration can be managed--usually conservatively without surgical intervention. Your podiatrist will put together a treatment plan suited to your activity level, age, overall health and other factors so your hammertoes stabilize. You will feel better and walk better, too.
Treatments may include:
- Custom-made shoe inserts (also called orthotics) which cushion feet and normalize gait
- Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen
- In-office corn and callus removal and/or use of padding in the shoe to reduce friction and irritation
- Recommendations on your best style of footwear (heels no high than two inches, says the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, and also ample room in the toe box)
Find out more
People can live well with hammertoes and other acquired deformities of the foot and ankle. Your foot doctors at University Foot Center are happy to help. Why not call the office today for your examination and consultation with Dr. Wagner or Dr. Mehl? Phone (614) 488-9478.