Hammertoes typically start out as mild deformities, but without proper treatment, this condition grows progressively worse and requires surgical intervention. The team of podiatrists at Miklos Foot and Ankle Specialists in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood of Chicago diagnoses and treats hammertoes in patients of all ages. If you have symptoms of a hammertoe, call or book an appointment online today.
Hammertoe is a condition that causes your toe to bend abnormally at the middle joint, making it look like a hammer. When the bend occurs in the joint nearest your toenail, it’s called a mallet toe.
In its early stages, a hammertoe is flexible and often improves with simple treatments. If left untreated, a hammertoe can become stiff and unresponsive to nonsurgical treatment. Because hammertoes never improve on their own, it’s important to schedule an appointment at Miklos Foot and Ankle Specialists as soon as you notice a deformity.
Hammertoe happens when the muscles and tendons that hold your toe straight become tight and unable to stretch out. This typically results from a combination of factors, including:
Shoes that are too narrow toward the front may push your toes into a bent position, while high heels force your foot down and squish the toes. Eventually, the toe muscles become unable to straighten your toe, even when you’re not wearing a tight shoe.
The expert podiatrists at Miklos Foot and Ankle Specialists diagnose hammertoe by examining your foot. They may also take X-rays to further evaluate the bones of your foot.
Treatment for hammertoe depends on the severity of your condition. If your toe is still flexible enough to straighten, the team at Miklos Foot and Ankle Specialists may recommend you switch to more comfortable shoes with a roomier toe box. Shoes that fit properly should be a half-inch longer than your longest toe.
They may also teach you exercises to perform at home to stretch and strengthen the muscles of your foot.
If you have a hammertoe that’s become rigid or doesn’t improve with conservative treatment, you may need surgery.
Don’t delay treatment for a hammertoe, call Miklos Foot and Ankle Specialists or book an appointment online today.