What You Can Do About Hammertoes

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What You Can Do About Hammertoes

Hammertoes are easily identified by their irregular shape, and while not uncommon or dangerous, the condition can be uncomfortable, especially after long days of wearing uncomfortable work shoes.

The condition, sometimes hereditary, occurs when the toe joint is bent and deformed, leading to pressure and friction. The resulting pain can leave you wary to walk or even stand, but your podiatrists, Dr. Steven Vetter and Dr. Jugal Dharia of Oakton Foot and Ankle Center in Fairfax, VA, can help you find relief.

What causes hammertoes?

Hammertoes may be genetic, due to a muscle or tendon imbalance, or caused by lifestyle habits such as frequently wearing shoes that have pointed-toe boxes, high heels, or a narrow cut.

What makes hammertoes so painful?

The toe itself doesn't cause discomfort, but rather the pain results when the toe rubs or pushes against your shoe, which can lead to corns, calluses, sores, redness, or swelling.

How can I treat my hammertoes?

Depending on the severity of your hammertoes, your podiatrist may advise simple changes like switching to low-heeled, supportive shoes with a roomy toe-box, using a cushioned shoe insert, or putting padding on any calluses and corns that have developed to prevent pain.

Your podiatrist may recommend corticosteroid injections or taking anti-inflammatory medications, to relieve pain and inflammation. If your hammertoes are severe, you may need surgical treatment. The operation, done at our Fairfax, VA, office, involves cutting the tendons and ligaments so your podiatrist can straighten your toe. A portion of the bone may also need to be shaved away. You will need to wear a special shoe for a few weeks as your toe heals, but within several weeks you will be pain-free for good.

If hammertoes are keeping you in pain, make an appointment with your podiatrists, Dr. Vetter and Dr. Dharia of Oakton Foot and Ankle Center in Fairfax, VA, by calling (703) 352-8888.