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Can Anything Be Done About Hammertoe?


Many deformities are a part of life at birth or may happen over years. Hammertoe is one of those kinds of deformities. The toe is downwardly bent and positioned like a claw when a person suffers from this condition. Most generally, the second toe of the foot is affected but all of the toes may be affected. Pressure endured as a result of having a bunion may also cause the development of hammertoe.

Extreme cases where all of the toes are bent often may be a sign that there could be some sort of nerve or spinal cord involvement. Many years ago, children often had to wear shoes that were handed down from an older sibling and may not have fit well or may have had to wear shoes that had become too small and cramped their feet and toes. This often caused hammertoe condition to develop.

There are more women with this problem than men due to the fact that women wear high heeled shoes often with pointy toes that cramp the feet and toes. After years of this kind of abuse to the toes, hammertoe may develop.

What to Look For

Often, individuals do not realize that this deformity is happening and sometimes know that there is something wrong but may think it is just a part of aging. There are certain signs and symptoms that accompany this condition and some of those are as follows:

• Most generally there is some amount of pain that accompanies this type of deformity. The foot pain is usually joint related. The joint that attaches the big toe to the foot is generally the most painful.
• Many times there is formation of a callus on the bottom of the foot.
• Often formation of a corn will occur to top side of the toe.
• Toes will deform and be bent to resemble a claw.

Looking Into Treatment

Hammertoe can be mild in form or may be very severe. This will help in determining whether an individual seeks treatment or not. Milder cases may not be problematic in nature. A general examination by a physician or podiatrist will aide in determining the extent of treatment.

Foot manipulation or use of a foot splint, in many cases that are mild, will prove very effective in helping to straighten the toes affected. One should choose shoes that are of a wider width in order to give the toes more room therefore providing comfort. The use of pads made of felt or corn pads that may be found at the pharmacy will help in providing protection to a joint that may be protruding.

 Most podiatrists will guide patients with this condition to perform exercises with the toes on a daily basis. When cases are severe, surgery may be required as a means of straightening toe joint. Often this will also include having the tendons cut and moved or joint fusion may be required. Each case of hammertoe is unique and therefore treatment and outcome will be different for every individual.
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