Hammertoes occur when the muscles and tendons in your foot no longer keep one of your toes straight and it stops being naturally aligned with your other toes. At Houston Foot and Ankle Care in Houston, board-certified podiatrist Dr. Gabriel Maislos, DPM, FACFAS, FAENS, expertly treats hammertoe and the accompanying symptoms, such as painful corns and calluses, in his Houston office. If a hammertoe is causing you pain when you walk or rubbing against your shoe, call the office or schedule a consultation online so you can get long-term relief.
A hammertoe forms when the middle joint of your toe becomes dislocated or the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the joint no longer function to keep your toe straight. Sometimes, your muscles weaken or become dislocated after a foot injury, and sometimes. hammertoes are the result of wearing high-heel shoes or shoes that are too tight. It may also be a combination of both.
Genetics, diseases like arthritis or diabetes, age, and gender also contribute to the onset of hammertoes. Women are more likely to experience them than men, and the risk increases with age. Also, if your second toe is longer than your big toe, you have a higher risk of developing a hammertoe.
When you have a hammertoe, your second or third toe appears bent, as if you have a toe deformity. The hammertoe may overlap an adjacent toe because it isn’t able to stay straight on its own. This can be painful, especially when wearing certain shoes in which your toe rubs against the inside of the shoe.
Swelling, redness, or a burning sensation in the affected toe are common. Painful corns and calluses may form as a result of constant friction between overlapping toes or from your shoes. A hammertoe continues to get worse, if left untreated, leaving surgical correction as the only option to relieve the painful toe deformity.
When you don’t treat a hammertoe, you often end up with contracted digits, meaning your toes remain bent and stiff. In some cases, you may be able to manually straighten your toe, but if the toe is contracted and stiff, you won’t be able to straighten it out.
Depending on how severe your hammertoe is, Dr. Maislos may first recommend nonsurgical treatment methods to relieve pain, such as:
If conservative measures don’t relieve pain or correct the contracted digit of a hammertoe, Dr. Maislos may recommend surgery. Depending on the condition of your toes, he may perform surgery in the office under a local anesthetic. However, for more complicated procedures, hammertoe surgery may take place in an outpatient surgery center.
Don’t suffer indefinitely with a hammertoe and its painful side effects that prevent you from being as active as you’d like. Call the friendly team at Houston Foot and Ankle Care to schedule a consultation or make an appointment online today.