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What to Do if Your Toe Is Always Bent or Feels Stiff

Wednesday, 20 April 2022 00:00

Middle joints in the second, third, and fourth toes can sometimes become deformed due to an imbalance in tendons, muscles, and ligaments. When this occurs, the toe is unnaturally bent with the middle joint stuck in an upward position while the rest of the toe is bent downward. This deformity causes the toe to look almost like a hammer, which is why it is known as hammertoe. Mallet toe is similar, however, the joint nearest the nail is affected. The factors that can contribute to hammertoe include wearing high heels or other footwear that crowds the toes, throwing the toes out of alignment by stubbing or injuring them, having an imbalance in the toe muscles due to age or other conditions, inheriting a second toe that is longer than the big toe, and suffering from diabetes, arthritis, or other conditions that compromise the feet. It is important to seek treatment from a podiatrist in the early stages of hammertoe, while the toe is still flexible, and the condition is more easily correctable. If your toe is always bent or it looks red or feels stiff or painful at the joint, it is a good idea to make an appointment with a podiatrist to get it examined and to discuss your treatment options.

Hammertoe

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Dr. Jeffrey Bruening from Bruening Foot & Ankle. Our doctor will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that affects the joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes of your feet. It is a painful foot condition in which these toes curl and arch up, which can often lead to pain when wearing footwear.

Symptoms

  • Pain in the affected toes
  • Development of corns or calluses due to friction
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Contracture of the toes

Causes

Genetics – People who are genetically predisposed to hammertoe are often more susceptible

Arthritis – Because arthritis affects the joints in your toes, further deformities stemming from arthritis can occur

Trauma – Direct trauma to the toes could potentially lead to hammertoe

Ill-fitting shoes – Undue pressure on the front of the toes from ill-fitting shoes can potentially lead to the development of hammertoe

Treatment

Orthotics – Custom made inserts can be used to help relieve pressure placed on the toes and therefore relieve some of the pain associated with it

Medications – Oral medications such as anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs could be used to treat the pain and inflammation hammertoes causes. Injections of corticosteroids are also sometimes used

Surgery – In more severe cases where the hammertoes have become more rigid, foot surgery is a potential option

If you have any questions please contact our offices located in Covina and Alta Loma, CA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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