An imbalance in either the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the foot that keep the toes straight can cause hammertoe or mallet toe. Causes of this imbalance can stem from improperly-fitted shoes, trauma, and even foot structure. An abnormal bend in the middle joint of a toe is called hammertoe. When the joint nearest to the toenail is affected, this condition is called mallet toe. Poorly-fitted shoes can result in the toes becoming compressed which can result in the condition. Simply wearing properly-fitted footwear may cause the toes to become uncompressed and restore balance in the foot. However, surgery may be needed if the issue stems from trauma or foot structure, and if symptoms become more severe or do not go away.
Hammertoe is a foot deformity that affects the joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes of your feet. It is a painful foot condition in which these toes curl and arch up, which can often lead to pain when wearing footwear.
Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Dr. Jeff Pawlowski from Red Mountain Footcare. Our doctor will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.
- Pain in the affected toes
- Development of corns or calluses due to friction
- Contracture of the toes
- Genetics – People who are genetically predisposed to hammertoe are often more susceptible
- Arthritis – Because arthritis affects the joints in your toes, further deformities stemming from arthritis can occur
- Trauma – Direct trauma to the toes could potentially lead to hammertoe
- Ill-fitting shoes – Undue pressure on the front of the toes from ill-fitting shoes can potentially lead to the development of hammertoe
- Orthotics – Custom made inserts can be used to help relieve pressure placed on the toes and therefore relieve some of the pain associated with it
- Medications – Oral medications such as anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs could be used to treat the pain and inflammation hammertoes causes. Injections of corticosteroids are also sometimes used
- Surgery – In more severe cases where the hammertoes have become more rigid, foot surgery is a potential option
If you have any questions, please contact our office located in Mesa, AZ. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.