Hammertoe is a foot deformity that occurs when the muscles, ligaments, or tendons responsible for holding the toe in a straight position become injured or damaged. Hammertoe refers to an abnormal bend in the middle joint of a toe. It is most common in the second, third, and fourth toes.
While hammertoe doesn’t always cause pain, a lot of patients report having difficulty moving the affected toe. It is also common for corns and calluses to develop as a result of the affected toe rubbing against the inside of your shoe because of the abnormal bent position.
What Causes Hammertoe?
Hammertoe can be caused by a variety of reasons. The most common causes are:
- Improper footwear – Shoes that offer too little space to the toes (such as high-heeled shoes) prevent the toes from staying in a straight position. Over time, the improper position of the toes may become permanent, even when you are not wearing shoes. The reason why women are more likely to develop hammertoe than men is because more often than not, women wear ill-fitting shoes that do not offer good support or room to the toes.
- Injury to the foot – Some injuries to the foot or toes (such as a jam or fracture) can cause the development of hammertoe.
- Abnormalities in the toe muscles – When muscles in the toe are abnormal, it can cause instability, which can cause the toe to contract and bend over instead of being straight.
There are also some risk factors that can increase your risk of developing hammertoe. These factors include toe length and certain medical conditions. If you have long toes, your risk of developing hammertoe increases.
Conditions like diabetes and arthritis affect the joints. Because of this, they can lead to foot deformities like mallet toe and hammertoe. Finally, as you get older, your risk of developing hammertoe increases because of wear and tear to the different components that make up your foot.
How to Prevent Hammertoe
There are some factors contributing to the development of hammertoe that you can control. For example, wearing good footwear that gives ample room for your toes can help. Also, wear low heels so that gravity doesn’t push your foot forward in the shoe, causing the toes to bend.
If you have medical conditions like diabetes and arthritis, manage these conditions with the help of your doctors. If you manage your medical conditions well, your risk of developing other problems, like hammertoe, decreases.
Also, to reduce your risk of developing hammertoe, examine your feet on a regular basis and visit a podiatrist for checkups. A podiatrist can help keep your feet healthy and recommend treatments and lifestyle changes that can help reduce your risk of developing conditions in the future.
Hammertoe Treatment in South Texas
The medical experts at The Podiatry Group of South Texas have a wealth of experience treating all types of conditions affecting the foot and ankle, including hammertoe.
For all your podiatric needs, you can rely on us. To make an appointment, please call (210) 227-8700. You can also request an appointment online. We look forward to serving you soon!