If your toe points down all the time, you could have hammertoes. This common foot deformity happens when the middle joint within a little toe bends and stays that way. At Rhode Island Foot Care, the experienced board-certified podiatrists understand how uncomfortable and frustrating hammertoe can be, and they have solutions. There are offices in North Providence, Pawtucket, Newport, Riverside, Johnston, Warwick, Cranston, East Providence, Cumberland, Warren, and Central Falls, Rhode Island, and additional locations in Taunton and Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Call the one nearest you or schedule online today.
Hammertoe is a bending in the middle joint inside your toe. It can affect any of your little toes but usually happens in the second, third, and fourth toes.
Flexible hammertoe is a bent toe that you can still straighten.
Fixed or rigid hammertoe is a completely immovable middle joint.
Related conditions include claw toe — bending of both the middle and end joints — and mallet toe — bending of only the end joint.
Hammertoe can lead to many irritating issues, including corns or calluses from continual skin friction. The bent joint can be quite uncomfortable or painful, especially when you wear tight shoes.
If you have a severe fixed hammertoe, you may change your walking patterns. This irregular strain on other parts of your foot can lead to weakness, instability, and injury.
Hammertoe occurs when your inner-foot muscle balance grows disrupted. This imbalance triggers abnormal stress on the tendons and joints in your toe, and that, in turn, leads to hammertoe.
The underlying cause of muscle imbalance in your feet isn't always clear. Bunions, flat feet, and arthritis all change your foot balance, which increases the likelihood of hammertoes.
Some other factors that can potentially cause hammertoe include:
Hammertoes occur more often in women, and the risk increases with age.
The Rhode Island Foot Care team diagnoses the type of hammertoe and its cause before creating a targeted treatment plan. The team may recommend symptom management for milder cases of flexible hammertoe, such as:
For more serious cases, including most fixed hammertoes, the best treatment option may be surgery to realign your joint, muscles, and ligaments. Joint fusion, which prevents the toe from bending, is another option for a fixed hammertoe.
The board-certified group of fellowship-trained podiatrists at Rhode Island Foot Care offers customized hammertoe treatment using the most advanced innovations available. Book an appointment online or call the office nearest you for help today.