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Preventing and Treating Hammertoes

What is Hammertoe?

Hammertoe results in painful malformations that affect the middle toes of the foot, which causes the toe to curl over and the joint to be stuck in that position. Hammertoes arise when an individual wears ill fitted shoes or experience arthritis. This particular condition alters the manner in which one walks and has the potential to lead to additional foot conditions.

Generally, this condition can be delineated into two separate categories, flexible hammertoes and rigid hammertoes. Flexible hammertoes refer collectively to toes that are still mobile at the joint. This normally has a positive prognosis and reflects a condition that can be mitigated in the future. A host of different treatment options may be available. Rigid hammertoes, the latter category, arise when the tendons solidify, and disrupt the overall alignment of the joint itself. This prevents the toe from moving freely and surgery may be necessary.


Hammertoes have a number of different causes. The toe muscles work in conjunction with one another, and when a critical imbalance arises, this condition may be the end result. This type of imbalance ends up exerting a considerable amount of pressure on the neighboring joints and tendons.

In most cases, this imbalance may arise when one is predisposed to genetic factors, or when one experience arthritis or a toe injury. Hammertoe symptoms include joint pain in the toe, the formation of corns atop the joint, toe swelling, impaired toe mobility, and even pain underneath the foot. Some cases are more severe than others. And if you suffer from this condition, you should seek medical attention. This condition can be diagnosed with an X-ray.


Hammertoe patients can choose from several different treatment options. Until treatment is available, to relieve the general pain and discomfort associated with this condition, consider wearing broad shoes, small heels, the right shoes for your activity level, toe pads, or even ice packs in the affected areas. For treatment, consider anti-inflammatory medication, consulting a podiatrist for customized shoe inserts, cortisone injections, or even surgery in the most severe cases.


Hammertoes can be prevented for the most part. Remain acutely aware of your feet’s overall health, taking note of any conditions. This is especially important if you suffer from a disease that makes you susceptible to conditions such as these. Maintain excellent circulation, and elevate your feet when necessary. Furthermore, buy comfortable, spacious shoes.

Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum is a Podiatric Physician and Surgeon serving patients in Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach.

Do you have questions or concerns?

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16244 S. Military Trail #290
, Delray Beach, FL 33445



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