Hammer Toe Treatment Melbourne
Written by KIRSTINE MANN – MANAGING DIRECTOR AND SENIOR PODIATRIST & edited by SOPHIE YOUNG – DIRECTOR AND ENDORSED PODIATRIST
What is Hammer Toe?
Hammer Toes can become very painful & due to pressure from footwear, they can develop a corn and/or callous on the toe which becomes painful.
What are symptoms of Hammer Toe?
Hammer toe is a condition that can lead to a variety of symptoms, each with varying levels of discomfort or pain.
These symptoms include;
- Pain or discomfort in the affected toe, particularly when wearing shoes
- Corns or callouses on the toe or surrounding skin
- Inability to flex or move the toe
- Redness, swelling, or a burning sensation in the affected area
- Toes that appear to be bent or curled downward, resembling a hammer or claw
- Difficulty finding comfortable shoes due to the shape of the affected toe
- In severe cases, open sores or ulcers on the toe may develop
What are the Causes of a Hammer Toe?
Similarly, hammer toe is a condition with a variety of causes.
- A hammer toe can be caused by an imbalance in the muscles and tendons that control the movement of the toe. This can cause the toe to bend or curl abnormally.
- An injury to the toe, such as stubbing it or breaking it, can also lead to a hammer toe.
- Some people may have a genetic predisposition to developing a hammer toe.
- Arthritis can cause inflammation and damage to the joints in the foot, leading to a hammer toe.
- Damage to the nerves that control the movement of the toes can also lead to a hammer toe.
- Wearing shoes that are too tight or don’t fit properly can put pressure on the toes and contribute to the development of a hammer toe.
- Certain shoes, such as high heels, can force the toes into a cramped position, which can lead to the development of a hammer toe over time.
- Medical conditions, such as diabetes or stroke, can increase the risk of developing a hammer toe.
What are the Treatment Options for a Hammer Toe?
Depending on the severity of your hammer toe, there are multiple treatments that are available to fix the condition, including;
- Wearing appropriate footwear: Wearing shoes that have a wider toe box and low heels can help relieve pressure on the toes and prevent further deformity.
- Custom orthotics: Shoe inserts or custom orthotics can help to redistribute the weight on the foot and improve the alignment of the toes.
- Toe exercises: Exercises that stretch and strengthen the muscles in the toes can help improve their flexibility and prevent the development of a hammer toe.
- Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers can help to manage pain and inflammation.
- Corn and callus removal: Corns and calluses that develop on the toe can be removed by a podiatrist.
- Injection therapy: Injecting a corticosteroid medication into the affected toe can help to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the deformity. The specific type of surgery will depend on the severity and location of the deformity, and may involve removing a portion of the bone or tendon in the affected toe.
The key to treating a hammer toe is early intervention. In mild cases, conservative treatments such as changes in footwear and exercise may be enough to relieve symptoms and prevent further progression of the condition. We will work with you to determine the most effective treatment for your hammer toe.
FAQ's About Hammer Toe?
What are the risk factors for developing a Hammer Toe?
Anyone can develop hammer toe, but some factors may increase the risk of developing the condition, including;
- Gender, as women are more likely than men to develop a hammer toe
- Age, as a hammer toe is more common in older adults
- Foot structure, such as having flat feet or high arches
- Toe length, such as having longer second toes
- Wearing shoes that are too tight or narrow in the toe area
- Wearing high heels that force the toes into a cramped position
- Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or arthritis
- Genetic predisposition
- An injury to the toe, such as stubbing it or breaking it, can also lead to a hammer toe
Can a Hammer Toe be prevented?
How is a Hammer Toe Diagnosed?
During the physical exam, we will examine your affected foot and toes, looking for any visible signs of deformity or inflammation. We also assess the range of motion in the affected toe and check for any areas of tenderness. In some cases, we may order imaging tests, such as an X-ray, to get a closer look at the bones and joints in the foot and to rule out other conditions, such as arthritis or a fracture.
It’s important to provide us with a detailed description of your symptoms, including when they first started, how they have progressed over time, and any factors that seem to make them worse. This information can help us make an accurate diagnosis and develop an appropriate treatment plan for you.
What are the possible complications of a Hammer Toe Diagnosed?
Part of the reason that it is important to consult a podiatrist if you suspect that you have a hammer toe is that, if left untreated, a hammer toe can lead to several complications, including;
- The deformity caused by the hammer toe can cause the affected toe to rub against the inside of the shoe, leading to the development of painful corns and calluses.
- Corns and calluses can become infected, especially in people with diabetes or poor circulation.
- As the condition worsens, it can become difficult to move the affected toe, which can lead to reduced mobility in the foot.
- A hammer toe can cause chronic pain and discomfort, especially when walking or standing for long periods of time.
- A hammer toe can affect the balance and stability of the foot, increasing the risk of falls and injuries.
- In severe cases, the deformity caused by hammer toe can become permanent, making it difficult to straighten the affected toe.
Always Consult A Trained Professional
The information in this resource is general in nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subject matter covered. It is not a substitute for medical advice and you should always consult a trained professional practising in the area of medicine in relation to any injury or condition. You use or rely on information in this resource at your own risk and no party involved in the production of this resource accepts any responsibility for the information contained within it or your use of that information.