Hammertoe is a common podiatric problem that causes your second, third, or fourth toes to bend into a claw or hammer-like shape. Expert podiatrist Aldo M. Gonzalez, DPM, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of hammertoes at Ankle and Foot Center of Florida, in Palm Beach Gardens. To learn more, request an appointment by calling or using the online booking tool today.
A hammertoe is a toe with an abnormal bend in the middle joint, causing the toe to curve downward, like a hammer. It’s one of the most common foot deformities and occurs due to an imbalance in the ligaments, tendons, and muscles that normally help keep your toe straight.
Left untreated, hammertoe gets progressively worse, but you can ease the pain and slow its progress with certain exercises and preventive treatments.
A complex network of muscles, tendons, and ligaments surround all of your toe joints. If these soft tissues weaken, it becomes difficult to bend your toes. When one or more toes stay bent for an extended period of time, it causes the muscles to tighten, preventing a full range of motion.
Anyone can develop hammertoe, but certain factors increase your risk, including:
Your genetics also plays a role. For example, if your mom or dad had a hammertoe, you’re more likely to as well.
Hammertoe isn’t a medical emergency, but it is serious. If you notice that one or more of your toes starts curving downward, make an appointment with Dr. Gonzalez for an evaluation.
You should also schedule an appointment at Ankle and Foot Center of Florida if you develop sores on the top of your toes. Although rare, sores caused by hammertoe often lead to infections and more serious problems. Telltale signs of a problem include pus, redness, or running a fever.
Dr. Gonzalez diagnoses hammertoe by performing a thorough physical exam, reviewing your medical history, and asking you about the symptoms you’re experiencing. Hammertoe deformity is usually obvious, but if necessary, Dr. Gonzalez can order an X-ray to get a better look at the structure of your feet.
Whenever possible, Dr. Gonzalez recommends conservative methods of care. If your hammertoe is mild, he might suggest light stretching, physical therapy, and comfortable footwear to provide relief. If your pain is negatively affecting your quality of life, Dr. Gonzalez can also administer cortisone injections.
If conservative methods of care aren’t able to ease your symptoms, surgical intervention may be necessary.
Don’t let the pain of hammertoe complicate your life. You can conveniently book an appointment through this website or over the phone to see Dr. Gonzalez and have him evaluate your condition.