All About Hammertoe: What You Need to Know

A hammertoe, also known as a mallet toe, is a disorder characterized by an abnormal bending of one or both toe joints. While most hammertoes might not cause discomfort, this condition is not merely an aesthetic concern. If not treated, a Bakersfield hammertoe might result in muscular imbalances and undue stress on other toes and feet, often negatively affecting your walking ability and life quality. At Diabetic Foot and Wound Center, the specialist offers professional diagnosis and care of hammertoe, regardless of how advanced the problem might be. Continue reading to learn all you should know about hammertoes. 

What Exactly Is A Hammer Toe?

Hammer’s toe is a foot disorder where the middle joints of a toe are unnaturally bent. This condition causes your toe to get stiff and rigid in a curled position. Therefore, when walking, the end of the toe may ‘hammer’ or hit the surface. Often, hammertoe affects the second, third, and fourth toes. Although not inherently uncomfortable, a hammertoe can cause discomfort once it severely impacts the muscles, tendons, or ligaments.

What Are The Common Reasons For Hammertoe?

Hammertoe results from various factors that cause uncomfortable and painful bending in one or more of the three middle toes. While numerous factors could result in a hammertoe, here are some of the most common:

  • Ill-fitting shoes
  • Elevated foot arches
  • Arthritis
  • Tightened foot tendons, muscles, or ligaments
  • Injury
  • Pressure caused by a bunion

Besides these common causes of a hammertoe, multiple risk factors might contribute to the development of this concern. Here are some of the risk factors that enhance your chances of developing hammertoe:

  • Genetics
  • Conditions such as corns, calluses, or bunions, whose thickness causes friction
  • Constant use of pointed and/or tight shoes

What Are The Warning Signs Of Hammertoe? 

One of the most noticeable signs of hammertoe is the ‘bent’ appearance of the toe. You most likely have the disorder if your toe is in an inverted ‘V’ shape. Other symptoms to look out for include:

  • Corns develop atop your toe joints
  • The ball of your foot beneath the bent toe is painful
  • Discomfort on the affected toe’s top when wearing shoes
  • Difficulty and pain moving your toe joint
  • The toes swell and turn red

How Could You Avoid Hammertoe?

Preventive care can lower your chance of developing several ankle or foot disorders, not only hammertoe. Shoes that fit appropriately and adequately support your foot could minimize your risk for various problems with posture, foot discomfort, and more. Acquire shoes with little to no heel, adequate toe room, and adjustable straps or laces. Additionally, specific stretches and exercises could assist you in managing the symptoms of your hammertoe and avoid more severe complications later.

Nonetheless, despite your best self-care measures and managing your risk factors, hammertoes will still develop. Immediately you identify a bend on your toe, do not hesitate to seek care.

Do not overlook or disregard the warning signs of hammertoe as simply an aesthetic concern. Whether your condition is in the early stages or more advanced, podiatrist Dr. Ruben Nieto and his expert staff at Diabetic Foot and Wound Center can help. Dr. Nieto will comprehensively diagnose your condition and develop a tailored care plan to manage your symptoms and treat any underlying concerns. Call the Bakersfield, CA, office or request an appointment online today.


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