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What Are Hammertoes?

Wondering if you have a hammertoe? Indianapolis, IN, podiatrist Dr. Yong Chae of Active Podiatry discusses hammertoe symptoms and hammertoeexplains a few things you can do to relieve them.

Do I have a hammertoe?

If your toe bends at a right angle, you may have a hammertoe. The condition is called "hammer" toe because your bent toe looks a little like a hammer. Although hammertoe doesn't affect big toes, it can occur in any other toe. Ignoring hammertoe isn't a good idea. When you first notice the change in your toe, you may be able to temporarily straighten it by pressing on it. Unfortunately, without treatment, the toe may become rigid and inflexible.

Wearing shoes can be a painful experience if you have hammertoe, particularly if you continue to wear shoes that press against the top of your toe. If you have the condition, your toe may appear red and swollen, and you may develop corns and calluses on the top of it.

How did I get hammertoe?

Hammertoe frequently occurs if your shoes place constant pressure on your toes. High heels and very tight shoes are common culprits. Pressure on the toe can also cause the tendon in your toe to shorten, making it difficult to fully extend it. Muscle imbalances in your feet, arthritis, or foot injuries may contribute to the development of hammertoes.

What can I do about hammertoe?

Making changes to your footwear can help reduce pain and swelling. Look for roomy shoes that are tall enough to accommodate your toe. Ice packs and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine can be helpful in relieving pain and inflammation.

If your toe is still flexible, it may be possible to reverse your condition with exercise. Exercises don't require special equipment and offer a simple way to treat a flexible hammertoe.

When home treatment isn't effective, or your hammertoe has become rigid, schedule a visit with our Indianapolis or Crawfordsville, IN podiatrist. We can recommend a variety of treatments will improve your symptoms. Prescription anti-inflammatory medications may offer relief of pain and swelling. If your toe is flexible, you may benefit from wearing prescription inserts in your shoes or padding and taping your toe. Although conservative measures are often helpful in treating flexible hammertoes, rigid hammertoes usually require surgery.

Prompt treatment is the key to relieving your hammertoe pain. Schedule an appointment with podiatrist Dr. Yong Chae of Active Podiatry by calling (317) 328-6622 for the Indianapolis, IN, office or (765) 362-7200 for the Crawfordsville, IN, office.

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