Medical conditions affecting your feet can quickly turn into a painful and irritating experience. We often take for granted walking or simply standing, which conditions like hammertoe can compromise. Do you know what causes hammertoes or how to avoid them? Learn more with your Bloomington, IL podiatrist at McLean County Foot and Ankle.
What are hammertoes?
Hammertoes are a foot deformity in which the toe curls downwards instead of lying straight. While this condition can affect any toe on the foot, it most often occurs in the second and third toes. Hammertoes usually form slowly over time, causing difficulty walking, corns and calluses and reduced range of motion in the toes.
What causes hammertoes?
Hammertoes come from many causes, including:
- wearing high-heeled, pointed, narrow or generally ill-fitting shoes
- problems with the connective tissues in the foot
- trauma to the toe
People who have a family history of hammertoes, often wear ill-fitting shoes, or are have other foot conditions such as corns or bunions are more at-risk for developing hammertoes. Your podiatrist uses a physical examination and, if necessary, imagining techniques like x-rays to diagnose a hammertoe.
Preventing Hammertoes in Bloomington, IL
Foot pads, custom orthotics or insoles, and physical therapy including special stretches may also treat hammertoes. In severe cases, your doctor may recommend surgery. Some cases of hammertoe can be prevented or treated by simply wearing properly fitting shoes. If you opt to continue wearing high-heeled shoes, aim for shoes with a low heel under 2 inches in height. This not only prevents hammertoes but bunions and corns or calluses as well.
For more information on hammertoes, please contact Dr. Gerald Paul at McLean County Foot and Ankle in Bloomington, IL. Call (309) 662-9001 to schedule your appointment for a foot examination.