If you find a painful lump on one of your smaller toes, it could be the beginning of hammertoe. Before it starts to go rigid, you need to get your hammertoe treated at Dr. Simon Becker DPM, a specialist podiatric clinic serving the West Orange and Elmwood Park areas of New Jersey. Don’t wait until your hammertoe needs surgery before seeking treatment; instead, call Dr. Simon Becker DPM today, or book your appointment using the online form.request an appointment
What is a hammertoe?
A hammertoe is an uncomfortable lump that typically affects one of your smaller toes and not your big toe. Hammertoes can become quite painful if left untreated, making it difficult to walk comfortably.
When a hammertoe first starts to form, your toe is still flexible and able to bend at the middle joint. After a while, the tendons in the joint affected by hammertoe start to seize up, eventually going rigid. This can lead to joint misalignment for which you need surgery.
Hammertoe is treatable using less invasive options if you visit Dr. Simon Becker DPM when you first notice it developing.
What causes hammertoe?
A hammertoe forms because of a problem with the muscles and ligaments that enable the middle joint to move. The soft tissue imbalance leads to the middle joint sticking in a bent position, resulting in the bony lump of hammertoe.
People who have flat feet or high arches are more likely to develop hammertoe, and having a second toe that’s longer than your big toe is another risk factor. If you stub your toe or break it, you might develop hammertoe at a later date.
Having diabetes or arthritis can increase the likelihood of developing hammertoe, and if anyone you’re related to has a hammertoe, your risk increases too. Wearing unsupportive or poor quality footwear that puts a strain on your toes or squashes them can also lead to hammertoe developing over time.
What treatments are available for hammertoes?
If you notice a hammertoe starting to form, you can relieve the inflammation using cold compresses, or soak your feet in tepid water. You should get new shoes as soon as possible that give your toes plenty of space, and make an appointment to visit Dr. Simon Becker DPM.
The expert podiatrists at Dr. Simon Becker DPM examine the hammertoe and request imaging tests such as an X-ray or MRI scan to find the best solution for each patient.
They can provide arch supports or padding to ease the pressure on the hammertoe, and create custom shoe inserts called orthotics to support your foot in exactly the right way to reduce pressure on your toes.
Physical therapy to stretch out the toes helps address the soft tissue imbalance that caused the hammertoe and prevents the ligaments from seizing up. Toe spacers also help to prevent the ligaments from seizing.
If your hammertoe is rigid, surgery is the best option. The procedure is called arthrodesis, and it fuses the bones in the joint to relieve the pain. Arthroplasty surgery to replace or remodel the toe joint is an option if your hammertoe still has some flexibility.
If you notice a hammertoe developing, don’t leave it and hope it goes away, as it’s likely to get worse. You can save yourself a great deal of pain and inconvenience by visiting Dr. Simon Becker DPM before your hammertoe goes rigid, so call today, or book an appointment online.