19. June 2015 04:12
Hammer Toe, also known as a contracted toe, is a common deformity in the three middle toes, which makes them appear to be bent. This may begin as temporary mild deformity and can develop into a permanent and more painful condition. Although it can be present at birth, the condition can develop over time.
Types of Hammer Toe:
- Flexible Hammer Toe: It is a less severe form of the condition and the toe can still be moved at the joint.
- Rigid Hammer Toe: This is a severe form of the condition and requires surgery. In this the tendon in the toe becomes rigid and presses the joint out of the alignment.
- Ill-fitted shoes
- Nerve injuries
- Toe injury
- High foot arch
- Tightened ligaments or tendons in the foot
- Pressure from a bunion
- Family history
- Female gender
- Toe length
- Pain and discomfort in toes
- Curling toes
- Disability in wiggling toes
- Swelling in the toe joint
- Pain on the ball of the foot under the bent toe
- Claw like toes
The orthopedic doctor may physically examine the toe to diagnose Hammer Toe. He may also recommend imaging tests such as an x-ray to get more information about the condition.
The treatment of Hammer Toe depends upon the stage that it has reached. The doctor can recommend any of the following treatment methods depending on the severity of the condition.
- Proper shoes: If the toe is still flexible, the doctor may advice to wear proper shoes with room for the movement of toes. He may suggest wearing shoes with heels less than 2 inches and soft insoles to relieve pressure on the toes. He may also ask to protect the affected joint with felt pads or corn pads.
- Exercises: Gentle stretching of the affected toes can be helpful to regain flexibility in the toes. Exercises can be effective in treating the initial stages of Hammer Toes.
- Medications: The doctor can prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling and pain. Other medications and creams may be prescribed to remove corns.
- Surgery: In severe cases, when the toe becomes stiff and there is no movement in the joint, the orthopedic surgeon may recommend surgery.
For treatment of Hammer Toe, visit Dr. Heier at OrthoTexas, Carrollton. To schedule an appointment with the foot and ankle surgeon, call at (972) 492-1334.