• 925 Clifton Ave, Ste. 107 Clifton, NJ 07013

Hammer Toes

A painfully bent toe limits your mobility, as well as which shoes you comfortably can wear. Narrow, ill-fitting shoes are common causes of hammertoes. Dr. Petkov will instruct you on how to avoid hurting your feet any further. Call today to fix your hammertoes and get back to living your life fully.

Hammer toes are deformities of the feet that affect the second, third or fourth toe. The affected toe bends from the middle joint in such a way that it resembles a hammer. To resolve this kind of problem, a foot specialist like podiatrist Dr. Velimir Petkov first has to diagnose your hammer toe. Only then can he suggest the proper treatment for you.

Besides the appearance of the affected toe, a hammer toe often causes added foot pain. You may develop additional symptoms such as:

You’re most likely at risk of experiencing hammer toe pain if you:

  • Are a woman, as women are more prone to the condition than men
  • Are older, since your age has an impact on the condition
  • Have certain diseases, such as arthritis or gout
  • Have a second toe that’s longer than your big toe

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Causes of Hammer Toes

Shoes are the main trigger for developing hammer toes. Shoes that are pointed, narrow and tight cause the toes to crowd together instead of remaining flat. Over time, your toes stay in that bent shape even when you walk around barefoot. Hammer toes develop as a result.

High heels can cause foot injuries, but shoes that cramp your feet are especially harmful for flat feet. Wearing high heels or poorly fitting shoes can lead to problems beyond hammer toes, such as:

To keep hammer toes from escalating, Dr. Petkov may suggest changing the style of your shoes. If shoes aren’t your problem, an imbalance in your foot muscles, ligaments or tendons is another reason for hammer toes. This imbalance causes additional pressure to be put on the tendons and joints of your toe. Eventually, it causes the toe to bend.

The Diagnosis for Hammer Toe Relief

When you visit our podiatrist, he checks your problem toe. The examination includes manipulating your foot to see how your toes react. If your toes don’t flex well enough and you’re feeling pain, your condition may need more aggressive hammer toe relief procedures. Only a qualified podiatrist like Dr. Petkov can decide.

During your exam, you may need digital x-ray images to make sure there aren’t any other problems. You may have stubbed, jammed or broken a bone in the toe, which caused the deformity. Foot or ankle fractures can force you to walk differently. You may also have toe bone spurs that are creating additional toe pain.

How to Fix Hammer Toe

Simply switching shoes may help, especially if your hammer toes are in the early stages. Wear shoes that have a wider box around your toes. Always buy shoes that have a half-inch of leeway between your toes and the tip of the shoes.

If your hammer toes are severe, the condition may have caused your toes to bend permanently. In this case, you may need a surgical approach to straightens your rigid toe, easing your pain and mobility issues. Less invasive techniques for getting hammer toe relief include:

  • Wearing orthotics in your shoes to relieve the pressure
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen that help reduce pain and inflammation
  • Padding for corns and calluses, if present, to keep from aggravating them further
  • Splinting to straighten your toe
  • Specialized exercises involving bunching up a towel with your toes or trying to pick up small marbles with your toes — both exercises stretch out your toe muscles
  • Physical therapy to help stretch and strengthen your toe muscles

Even if you end up doing at-home self-care, you must be under the supervision of a board-certified podiatrist like Dr. Petkov. Contact Premier Podiatry in Clifton, NJ today to make your appointment.

This page was published on Dec 30, 2019, modified on Jan 15, 2021 by Velimir Petkov, DPM of Premier Podiatry

Premier Podiatry: Velimir Petkov, DPM
925 Clifton Ave, Ste 107
Clifton, NJ 07013
(973) 315-5555

The information on this website is to provide a general podiatry information. In no way does any of the information provided reflect a definitive treatment advice. It is important to consult a best in class podiatrist regarding ANY questions or issues. A thorough podiatric evaluation should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call your local foot doctor or New Jersey podiatrist Velimir Petkov, DPM, to schedule a consultation.
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