Fact or Fiction: Hammertoe Edition


When you notice that your toes are starting to become misshapen or misaligned, it can be quite an alarming sight - especially if the toes are bending at a different angle than you last remember them. The deformity of toes can happen for a multitude of reasons, one of the most common reasons being that a person was not wearing the right type of shoes for a long period of time. It can also be due to traumatic injury such as a car crash. No matter the reason, it is important to see a podiatrist immediately if you suspect that you are suffering from hammertoes. But before you go barging into the office feeling like a doctor from a simple Google search, be sure to read up on the truths and fictions of hammertoes.

Thought: Hammertoes are caused by shoes that are much too tight and narrow.

Truth: Wearing improper shoes can definitely help speed along the process of getting hammertoes. Shoes that are too tight and too narrow constrict the toes and cause them to stay in abnormal positions. These positions exacerbate the already weak and imbalanced muscles and tendons in the area, allowing them to bend down more quickly. The muscles and tendon weaknesses that start off the condition may not be from the shoes though; they can be the result of a neurological disorder or arthritis.

Thought: Hammertoes can heal themselves and do not need treatment.

False: Hammertoes gradually get worse over time. Sometimes it can take a while for hammertoes to really start to become noticeable, but over time they will progress and can even become debilitating. It’s important to have a podiatrist look at the afflicted toes as soon as possible to make a diagnosis. The foot doctor may order x-rays to help them make this diagnosis.

Thought: Hammertoes have no treatment options.

False: A podiatrist has many options to help a patient ease pain and discomfort. Strapping or taping the toe, use of a custom orthotic device, and stretching exercises are all different options a podiatrist can introduce to a patient to help them to thrive. If none of these treatments is successful or the deformity is so severe that a patient is no longer able to stay mobile, surgery may be necessary.

If you are suffering from hammertoes, it is imperative that you talk to a podiatrist as soon as possible to get treatment. Call Achilles Foot and Ankle Surgery, PC located in Martins Ferry, Ohio and St. Clairsville, Ohio, as well as Wheeling West Virginia. There Dr. Bruce G. Blank and his staff will help get your hammertoes under control. Call 740-633-4188 or make an appointment online today.