Tuesday, 30 August 2022 00:00

Hammertoes

Hammertoes are a common foot deformity in which one or more of the small toes bends downwards at the middle joint. This puts the toes into a hammer or mallet-like shape, hence the name of the condition. Hammertoes can be very uncomfortable and even painful, causing symptoms such as irritation, inflammation, redness, stiff toe joints, muscle contracture, and corns, calluses, and sores on the tops of the affected toe joints. 

Hammertoes can either be flexible or rigid. Flexible hammertoes are those that can still be moved at the joint. Rigid hammertoes are those that can no longer move due to stiff, tight joints. Flexible hammertoes slowly turn into rigid hammertoes when no steps are taken to treat this condition. 

Seeking treatment for hammertoes is strongly suggested, as they tend to get progressively worse over time. The main goals of treatment in the early stages are to slow or stop the progression and manage symptoms. Your chiropodist will likely recommend changes in your footwear. Wide, roomy shoes that have a large toe box and a low heel can give your toes extra space and prevent them from crowding and becoming further deformed. Orthotic insoles can be worn in the shoes for added support. Corns and calluses on the tops of the toes may need to be padded to protect them from irritation. Over-the-counter medications can be taken to relieve pain. In more severe cases, your chiropodist may suggest corticosteroid injections to reduce pain and inflammation. Surgery is another treatment option for hammertoes but is usually reserved for severe cases where the toe has become rigid and immobile. 

If you notice hammertoes or any other foot deformity, it is strongly suggested that you seek the care of a chiropodist. 

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