A hammertoe, though not an extremely serious condition, can be painful and make it difficult to wear certain shoes. Dr. James C. Graham, an experienced podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon at Graham Family Foot & Ankle Care in Effingham, Illinois, understands how uncomfortable a hammertoe can be. Dr. Graham helps men and women in southern and central Illinois get relief from this painful condition. Call or schedule an appointment online to see how he can help you.
A hammertoe forms when the middle joint of your toe becomes dislocated or the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the joint no longer function to straighten your toe. The muscles may weaken or become dislocated as the result of an injury to your foot. Hammertoes are sometimes the result of wearing high-heel shoes or shoes that are too tight.
Other causes of hammertoe include genetics, diseases like arthritis or diabetes, age, and sex. Women are more likely to get hammertoes than men, and the risk increases with age. Also, if your second toe is longer than your big toe, you have a higher risk of developing hammertoe.
When you have a hammertoe, your second or third toe appears bent or misshapen. It may even overlap another toe because it doesn’t stay straight. This can be painful, especially wearing certain shoes where your toe can rub against the inside of your shoe. Sometimes, you may notice swelling, redness, or a burning sensation in the affected toe.
If you don’t treat hammertoe, the condition can worsen over time, and the joint may require surgery in order to straighten it out again. It’s important to see Dr. Graham as soon as you notice the signs of a hammertoe so you can consider all the nonsurgical treatment options first.
If Dr. Graham determines that your hammertoe is still flexible, he may prescribe certain exercises and stretches to increase the strength of your toe. You may need to wear roomier, supportive shoes with a custom insert that Dr. Graham creates to help alleviate the pain. When nonsurgical methods are no longer an option, Dr. Graham may recommend surgery.
Hammertoe surgery repositions the toe, realigns tendons, and removes any deformed bone from your toe. This is typically an outpatient surgery and may include arthroplasty, arthrodesis, or tendon transfer procedures.
Dr. Graham explains the entire procedure in detail, depending on which one you require, so you know what to expect, and the caring staff is with you each step of the way through recovery. Call or schedule a consultation online for more information.