What You Need To Know About Hammertoes
By Idaho Foot & Ankle Associates
June 27, 2014
Category: Podiatric Procedures
Muscle and ligament imbalances around the toe joints can cause what Boise, ID podiatrists call “hammertoes.” People with this condition find that their toes become locked in a bent position, causing irritation and rubbing on the top of the toe. Hammertoes can be a serious problem in people who have problems with poor circulation. We recommend Boise patients with diabetes or arthritis to visit our office at the first sign of foot pain.
Two types of hammertoes affect the Boise, Idaho population. Flexible hammertoes are a milder form of the condition, and allow persons affected some mobility in their toes. Treatments provided at this stage of the condition may be able to correct or reverse the problem. Rigid hammertoes are a more advanced form of this foot ailment, limiting all movement in the toes and usually shifting tendons out of proper alignment. At either stage, it is important to visit a podiatrist, but in the latter instance, surgery may be required to correct the condition.
What Causes Hammertoes?
The joints in your toes, just like all other joints in your body, require pairs of muscles to work together in order to create movement. Because of the daily stresses put on feet, it is not uncommon for these muscles to become imbalanced. When that happens, hammertoes can form. A few main culprits have been found to increase the risk of developing hammertoes:
- Genes: The shape of your foot can impact where you put pressure on your feet when you walk. Unfortunately, flat feet and high arches are usually traits inherited from your parents and without surgery, you can’t necessarily fix them. You can, however, look for footwear that counters the imbalance caused the shape of your feet when you walk.
- Arthritis: Hammertoes can be a rather annoying symptom involved with the development of arthritis. While there isn’t any fool-proof way to treat hammertoes caused by arthritis, knowing your susceptibility for arthritis can go a long way in staving off this condition. Boise podiatrists recommend daily toe exercises to keep your feet fit and flexible, especially if you have a history of arthritis in your family.
- Poor-fitting footwear: If shoes are too tight, short, or pointy, they push the toes out of balance. Women who wear high heels often are at a higher risk for developing hammertoes because of the severe pressure those types of shoes put on the toes.
Start taking steps toward healthier feet. To learn more about the causes of hammertoes and ways you can prevent them, call (208) 327-0627 to schedule a consultation with podiatrist at Idaho Foot & Ankle today.