Hammertoes are a naturally occurring or hereditary deformity in the toes. It creates a muscular or tendon imbalance, which causes a toe to bend. Hammertoes can be caused by wearing shoes that do not fit correctly or by placing your feet in cramped positions for extended periods of time. Hammertoes can also be caused by earlier damage to the affected toe or toes. There are a couple of symptoms to be aware of:
- Contractions in the toe or toes
- Pain or irritation while wearing footwear
- Corns or calluses between the toes or on the bottom of the foot
Unless properly addressed, hammertoes will not improve on its own and may even proceed to worsen. If caught in earlier stages, it can be a simple fix with minimal long term issues; however, if left untreated hammertoes may become an issue that requires surgery.
There are several tips to treat and prevent flare-ups with hammertoes. The first tip is to wear appropriate footwear. Switching to shoes with more space in the toe area can help bring down inflammation. Your trusted podiatrist can help you select orthotic devices which help control the imbalance of the muscle or tendon in the toes is necessary. Another option are foot pads that can be placed over corn and calluses to reduce irritation. In other cases, medication or surgery is be the preferred method of treatment.
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