When you walk barefoot or in certain shoes, do you have pain in the ball of your foot? Does it feel like a pebble is stuck in the sulcus of your toes? A lot of my patients experience these strange sensations and cannot determine what causes them. Most patients that present with these symptoms have hammertoes.
Hammertoes are when the toes contract and cause increased pressure to certain parts of the ball of the foot. You can even develop corns and callouses from hammertoes. Most people develop hammertoes because of their foot type, both low arches and high arches have a tendency to develop hammertoes.
If you start to develop hammertoes, it is important to see a podiatrist EARLY in the setting of the problem. The reason it’s so important to have early treatment for hammertoes is because over time, the hammertoe develops arthritis and the soft tissue contracts making it difficult to provide treatment.
There are two different types of hammertoes, one that is flexible and can still be straightened with proper manipulation; the other is more rigid and cannot be straightened with manipulation. The rigid hammertoe usually develops after you have had it for a long period of time without seeking proper treatment. The rigid hammertoe is much harder to treat rather than a hammertoe that has just started to develop.
Treating a hammertoe can be done several ways:
- Certain types of pads or custom orthotics can help reduce pain associated with hammertoes by redistributing pressure more evenly on the bottom of the foot.
- There is also a minor office procedure that can be performed for certain types of hammertoes that releases the contracted, tight tendon that causes the hammertoe deformity. This procedure does not require any stitches and virtually no down-time. The catch is that you have to come into the office early on with a hammertoe so the problem can be corrected before any arthritis sets into the joint. It’s a great option for a hammertoe correction!
- There is also surgical correction that can be performed as an outpatient procedure in an ambulatory surgery center. Usually more rigid hammertoes that have severe contracture or have developed arthritis need a full hammertoe surgical correction.
So don’t wait until your hammertoes have been present for several years before you get them evaluated. Treating them early allows for the best outcome and fastest pain relief! The doctors as Advanced Podiatry can help with your hammertoe pain now. All you have to do is call and make an appointment at Advanced Podiatry for evaluation!