What Is Hammer Toe?

What Is Hammer Toe?

photo of hammer toe and an x-ray showing hammer toe

Anyone can suffer from hammer toe. This condition usually affects the second toe, bending so that it looks somewhat deformed and resembling a claw. Other toes can also become afflicted with time.

The causes of hammer toe can vary, but shoes are often to blame. Hammer toe is most commonly caused by the wearing of shoes that are too tight, too narrow and/or are high-heeled. This is one of the reasons why women are more often affected by hammer toe than men are. Children who continue to wear shoes that they have already outgrown can also develop hammer toe as the toes and feet strain to fit into ill-fitting shoes.

This deformity can also be hereditary or congenital and develop as time goes by. If all of the toes on the foot become deformed, this can be the result of spinal cord or nerve damage.

If you develop hammer toe, you will observe certain symptoms. Your nearby Atlanta podiatrist can assist you with a diagnosis once you suspect there is a problem.

Is the middle joint of your toe bent down as though it were in a claw-like position? You may be able to bend and straighten the toe at first, but with time, it will become painful to try and do so. You may develop a corn on top of the bent toe and a callus beneath your foot. You may experience pain when you walk or wear shoes.

At this point, it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis. You can visit the Atlanta area’s American Foot & Leg Specialists for a consultation and exam. A physician will observe your toes and check the range of motion of your toes and feet.

You can receive treatment and advice for hammer toe from American Foot & Leg Specialists. One change to make in your lifestyle would be footwear alteration. Wearing shoes that fit correctly and have a wide space for the toes is important. High heels are not good for hammer toe and can make the affliction worse and more painful. Soft insoles inside your shoes can help with pain in addition to wearing pads on the bent joint.

Other options that your Atlanta physician may prescribe are physical therapy exercises, braces or splints to help realign the toe.

If hammer toe becomes severe and is interfering with your daily life, a physician at American Foot & Leg Specialists can offer you a surgical solution to straighten the joint. This surgery may involve tendon and ligament cutting or moving, along with some bone fusion. However, this is regularly performed on a same-day, outpatient basis.

American Foot & Leg Specialists have four convenient office locations in Georgia that include Fayetteville, Forest Park, Locust Grove and Stockbridge. They serve the southern Atlanta metropolitan area encompassing Fulton County, Cobb County, Douglas County, Fayette County, Henry County, and Clayton County with office hours Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.