Are you experiencing abnormal bending of the joints on your second, third, fourth, or fifth toe? Abnormal bending on any of these toes could be a sign you have hammertoes. Hammertoe is a deformity that can cause discomfort and that can cause other more serious foot problems to develop.
While you can usually detect hammertoe by just looking at your feet, it is important to talk with a skilled podiatrist to make certain you get the right diagnosis and the best treatment. Elizabeth E. Auger, DPM helps patients in Salt Lake City and nearby locations to deal with a variety of foot health issues, including hammertoe.
Hammertoes are bent toes that can occur due to a muscle/tendon imbalance resulting from neurological or structural changes in the foot. A tendency towards hammertoes can be inherited, or trauma to the toe can also cause hammertoes.
Wearing poorly fitting shoes is a contributing factor as well, as longer toes could be forced into a small space when wearing tight shoes.
Hammertoes usually begin as more mild bending at the joints, but can progress quickly and may become incurable without intervention. Watching for symptoms is important so you can see a foot doctor right away and have the greatest range of treatment options.
The most obvious symptom, of course, is the bending at one or both of the joints of the affected toes. Other symptoms can include corns; calluses; redness; a burning sensation; and pain that gets worse when wearing shoes. Open sores can sometimes form in the most severe of cases.
If hammertoe is caught at an early stage, conservative non-surgical treatment is usually possible and involves using arch supports, strapping or padding. Another conservative treatment option involves wearing shoes that have a high toe box, and sometimes a wide toe box. The goal of these conservative steps is to make it possible for the toe to straighten.
Dr. Auger can work with you to develop an appropriate treatment protocol, which can include anti-inflammatory medication; the use of custom orthotics; padding for corns and calluses; and the careful selection of appropriate shoe-wear.
If hammertoes do not go away with conservative approaches, surgery may become necessary. The goal of surgery is to straighten the toes. Surgery could involve a tendon transfer procedure; joint resection; or fusion.
Dr. Auger has provided both non-invasive and surgical treatment for hammertoes to many patients in Salt Lake City, West Jordan, and Sandy, Utah. To find out more about the way an experienced and compassionate foot doctor can help you, call Dr. Auger today.