Hammertoe. It’s a condition we’ve all heard of, but many of us do not truly understand. In fact, you might even have hammertoe and not be aware of it. What does hammertoe look like? What causes hammertoe? And is it really a problem? We have the answers you need.
What Is a Hammertoe?
So what is hammertoe? Hammertoe is a condition that results when the toes are forced into an unnatural position. Specifically, it is when the toe has an unnatural bend at the middle joint in the second, third, or fourth toe. It cannot occur in the big toe since it lacks a middle joint.
What Are Hammertoe Causes?
There are two types of hammertoe: flexible and rigid. Flexible hammertoe is the more common type, making up roughly 80% of all cases. Rigid hammertoe makes up about 20%. The causes of hammertoe for each one vary slightly due to genetic factors or trauma that results in muscle contracture (shortening) of the toe muscles. This shortening pulls on tendons which can result in a bent toe if it becomes severe enough. However, common causes include:
- Wearing shoes that are too tight or have high heels
- Aging; as we get older, our ligaments and muscles weaken
- Injury to the toe
What Do Hammertoes Look Like?
For both types, there are typically three different angles at which your toes might bend depending upon how serious your condition is: first degree (flexing), second degree (bending further), and third degree (bent completely). When you look down on someone’s feet with hammertoe, you may see the following:
- The middle toe points upwards and the other toes fan out.
- The top of the bent toe feels like a hammerhead.
- There is redness, swelling, or callus on the joint at the end of the toe.
Is Hammertoe Serious?
Yes! Hammertoe can be quite painful and lead to further problems down the road if left untreated. In addition, it can also limit your ability to move and do everyday activities, making it difficult to wear shoes or go about your day-to-day routine. If you are experiencing these symptoms, please consult with a foot specialist as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment options.
Do you suspect that you have hammertoe? There is no reason to suffer from this condition. At the Advanced Foot and Ankle Institute of Georgia, we can offer treatments that resolve your hammertoe and give you greater comfort in your day-to-day life. Contact us to schedule your consultation for hammertoe in Marietta.