The following describes the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of hammertoe. For specific information regarding your health and treatment options, please contact your Hurley physician or medical professional.
What is hammertoe?
A hammertoe is a deformity in which the toe bends at the middle joint, with the tip of the toe pointing downward and the joint pointing upward, resembling an upside down V when viewed from the side. It is typically found on the second, third, fourth or fifth toes of the foot and is more common in women than men.
What causes hammertoe?
Genetics, foot injuries, arthritis, and wearing ill-fitting shoes that squeeze the toes are all common causes of hammertoe.
What are the symptoms of hammertoe?
- Pain in the foot at the base of the affected toe and/or at the top of the toe
- Inflammation and irritation of the hammertoe joint
- Corns on the affected toe joint
- Restricted motion of the toe joint, which is often painful
How is hammertoe diagnosed?
Your Hurley physician will conduct a complete physical exam and may order x-rays to determine the severity of the deformity.
How is hammertoe treated?
If diagnosed early, hammertoe may be treated with a variety of stretching and strengthening exercises. Your physician may also recommend other early treatment options such as padding and taping the hammertoe, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), cortisone injections, or orthotic shoe inserts. Non-medicated hammertoe pads can help minimize the irritation caused by shoes. It is also important to wear comfortable, roomy shoes with plenty of space for your toes to spread out and to avoid high heels. Ice packs can be used to reduce swelling when your hammertoe becomes inflamed.
In some cases, hammertoe will require surgical treatment to correct. There are several different surgical options, depending on the severity and location of the hammertoe.