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What to Do if Your Toe Is Always Bent or Feels Stiff

Wednesday, 20 April 2022 00:00

Middle joints in the second, third, and fourth toes can sometimes become deformed due to an imbalance in tendons, muscles, and ligaments. When this occurs, the toe is unnaturally bent with the middle joint stuck in an upward position while the rest of the toe is bent downward. This deformity causes the toe to look almost like a hammer, which is why it is known as hammertoe. Mallet toe is similar, however, the joint nearest the nail is affected. The factors that can contribute to hammertoe include wearing high heels or other footwear that crowds the toes, throwing the toes out of alignment by stubbing or injuring them, having an imbalance in the toe muscles due to age or other conditions, inheriting a second toe that is longer than the big toe, and suffering from diabetes, arthritis, or other conditions that compromise the feet. It is important to seek treatment from a podiatrist in the early stages of hammertoe, while the toe is still flexible, and the condition is more easily correctable. If your toe is always bent or it looks red or feels stiff or painful at the joint, it is a good idea to make an appointment with a podiatrist to get it examined and to discuss your treatment options.

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Massimo Pietrantoni, DPM of Rochester Podiatry, LLP. Our doctor will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that occurs due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight. It can be caused by the type of shoes you wear, your foot structure, trauma, and certain disease processes.

Symptoms

  • Painful and/or difficult toe movement
  • Swelling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Calluses/Corns
  • Physical deformity

Risk Factors

  • Age – The risk of hammertoe increases with age
  • Sex – Women are more likely to have hammertoe compared to men
  • Toe Length – You are more likely to develop hammertoe if your second toe is longer than your big toe
  • Certain Diseases – Arthritis and diabetes may make you more likely to develop hammertoe

Treatment

If you have hammertoe, you should change into a more comfortable shoe that provides enough room for your toes. Exercises such as picking up marbles may strengthen and stretch your toe muscles. Nevertheless, it is important to seek assistance from a podiatrist in order to determine the severity of your hammertoe and see which treatment option will work best for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Brighton and Greece of Rochester, NY . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about What Are Hammertoes?
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