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What to do about painful hammer-toes?What to do about painful hammer-toes?

Many of us have heard the term hammer-toe, but what is the medical definition of this condition? Hammer-toes are defined as an imbalance in the ligament and muscle at the base of the toe joint. This can cause the middle joint to become bent out of shape, which can be aesthetically unpleasing. This also leads to irritation in the bent toe and difficulty with walking and wearing certain footwear.

What kinds of hammer-toes are there?

There is a couple of different variations which can appear on the feet.  Fortunately, both can easily be treated if diagnosed in a timely fashion.  First, there are flexible hammer-toes which can be moved at the joint.  These usually develop in the early stages of development and are easier to treat.

Rigid hammer-toes are different, as they press the joint out of it’s natural alignment.  The toe is not mobile at this stage and surgery is likely required to correct the issue and return full mobility.

What Causes Hammer-toes?

Each of our toe muscles work together in pairs.  When the balance of the muscles shifts, a hammer-toe can develop.  There is a large amount of pressure which is put on the toe joints each and every day, especially for those of us who walk or run more than usual.  Additionally, those who wear high-heeled shoes or narrow footwear can suffer from hammer-toe development, due to the change in the arch of the foot.  Genetics play a large role as well, as this condition could be passed over in the family, and patients are likely to develop the condition in their adult life.  Those who have suffered from injuries to the foot or arthritis are most at risk.

If you suffer from pain in the feet, corn formation, swelling, dislocation or have gone through an injury, it is best to contact a podiatrist for a thorough evaluation.  Early detection is the key to a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Call Dr. Hickey today at 516-735-4545 for your evaluation today!

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