Noncosmetic Reasons to Get Rid of Your Hammertoe

A hammertoe develops as a deformity of your second, third, fourth, or fifth toe. As the name implies, a hammertoe forces the affected toe to bend down to resemble a hammer. 

This progressive condition usually starts as a mild deformity but worsens over time when it’s left untreated. While correcting the condition can restore a more natural appearance to your foot, it can also relieve pain and prevent other complications.

A hammertoe occurs as the result of an unnatural bending of one or both of the joints on the affected toe. The most common cause of a hammertoe involves an imbalance in the muscles, ligaments, or tendons that bend your toe and keep it straight. 

The condition can also occur from toe trauma, age, genetics, or diseases such as diabetes or arthritis.

Hammertoe treatment can range from symptom relief to surgical correction. Jeremy Moran, DPM, provides professional hammertoe services at his private practice, ToeOp, in Tomball, Texas. 

After a thorough examination, Dr. Moran determines the source of the deformity and appropriate options for correcting your hammertoe based on your condition. 

While hammertoe correction can make you feel more confident about baring your feet, early diagnosis and treatment can prevent complications that can affect your foot and the way it moves. Here’s why treatment is important for preserving your foot health and overall well-being.

Relieves pain

The initial stages of a hammertoe typically involve pain on the affected toe when wearing shoes. Foot pain and discomfort can affect the way you stand or walk.

The unnatural bend of a hammertoe can cause friction as the affected toe rubs against your shoe or a neighboring toe. The discomfort can force you to adjust or limit your activities and ultimately affect your quality of life. 

Correcting a hammertoe can relieve pain, allowing you to wear shoes comfortably and resume normal activities without limitations.

Improves foot function

Your toes work together to help you maintain proper balance when you stand, walk, or run. A painful hammertoe can force your foot to improperly distribute your body weight. The result can contribute to imbalance and potential falls, especially as you age and your natural balance weakens.

Inadequate foot support can also stress another part of your body, such as your ankles, knees, or back, which may be forced to compensate for the lack of normal support provided by your feet. 

Hammertoe correction can help improve balance and protect other parts of your body from damage by allowing your foot to assume the proper amount and distribution of body weight. 

Preserves foot health

The presence of a hammertoe can contribute to the development of corns and calluses between the affected toe and a neighboring toe or on the ball of your foot. These hardened areas of skin occur as the result of friction against a shoe or a neighboring toe. 

A callus can present an increased risk of infection for patients with conditions such as diabetes, poor circulation, or a weakened immune system. This can affect the health and circulation of your entire foot and lower limb. 

When a callus is left untreated or unnoticed due to the effects of nerve loss in your foot, the resulting infection can threaten your entire foot and overall well-being if it spreads to other parts of your body.

Hammertoe correction helps your foot maintain its normal position. This protects your foot from developing sores or wounds that can introduce infection into your body.

Achieves long-term benefits

Correcting your hammertoe can stop the progression of damage and provide long-term relief from pain. The results can reduce the potential for more serious complications. 

You may benefit from one of the following types of hammertoe correction, depending on your condition:

You may also require treatment of underlying conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis, or general orthopedic problems, that may be contributing to the development of a hammertoe.

Find out more about correcting your hammertoe to improve both appearance and function. Schedule an appointment for a foot examination by calling us at ToeOp today.

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