This common toe deformity that results in your toe curling or bending downward instead of pointing forward as it should is called hammertoes. You can experience hammertoe in any of your toes, but it is most often seen in the second or third toes. This condition often develops overtime but is occasionally present at birth.

Symptoms of Hammertoe

If you notice discomfort when you walk and suspect you might have hammertoe, consider the following symptoms associated with the condition:

  • Difficulty or inability to wiggle your toes or flex your foot.
  • Struggling to walk without pain.
  • The presence of calluses and corns.
  • You have at least one toe bending downward.
  • Your toes have a claw-like appearance.
  • Burning sensation or redness and swelling in the area.
  • Open sore - in some severe cases.

Causes and Common Risk Factors of Hammertoe

There are several risk factors and causes associated with hammertoe. The following are a few of the most commonly seen factors:

  • Injuries: If you jam, stub or break your toe, that toe is more likely to develop hammertoe. Of course, more severe injuries can also result in the condition. 
  • Shoe Choice: Wearing shoes that are too tight or too high, causing the toes to flex all the time can lead to a hammertoe.
  • Toe Length: If your second toe is longer than your big toe, hammertoe can result.
  • Genetics: The development of hammertoe can run in some families.
  • Arthritis: If you have this painful degenerative condition, it can lead to a hammertoe.
  • High Arch: If your foot naturally has a high arch, you are more likely to develop a hammertoe.
  • Foot Conditions: Specific foot conditions like corns, bunions and calluses cause your skin to thicken and can lead to hammertoe.

At-Home Treatment For Mild Cases

Some very mild cases of hammertoe can be corrected by wearing properly fitting shoes or using insoles or toe pads. Of course, in more severe cases, professional treatment by a podiatrist is recommended. 

When It’s Time to See a Doctor

Although this condition is not considered severe at the onset, it is a progressive condition that will only worsen with time. Therefore, it’s important to visit a podiatrist promptly if you suspect you have this condition and if it is not responding to at-home treatments. If you don’t treat your hammertoe effectively, it can become fixed and make it impossible for you to move the toe. When this happens, surgery to restore movement is often the only plausible course of action. Therefore, prompt attention towards correcting the problem is advised. Contact Red Mountain Footcare in Mesa, AZ today to schedule an appointment with experienced podiatrist Dr. Spencer Hardy for hammertoe diagnosis and treatment options.