AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

Foot health is more important than you might realize. Your feet carry you through each and every day; you depend on them to help you carry loads, get where you are going, and keep you moving forward through life. There are a few common foot health conditions that can hold you back from enjoying everything life has to offer. Hammer toe, mallet toe, and claw toe are three types of foot deformities that can cause pain, disfigurement, and dissatisfaction with one’s personal appearance. Thankfully, there are some easy solutions to the problem of deformed toes.

How is hammer toe recognized?

The term hammer toe refers to the distinctive shape of the disfigured toe. In this condition, the proximal joint in a toe the joint nearest your body bends downward towards the bottom of your foot; the appearance of an affected toe can resemble a hammer. This condition is known to affect the second, third, and forth toes in particular.

Mallet toe and claw toe are two related conditions that also impact the way that your toes appear. Mallet toe is a condition affecting the distal toe joint, the one furthest from your body. It can result in a mallet-like protrusion near the end of your toe. Claw toe is characterized by a pattern of dorsiflexion and flexion the bending of your toe towards the top of your foot before it bends away again.

How is hammer toe diagnosed?

Though the distinctive bend of hammer toe sounds like it would be simple to recognize, a patient may actually be suffering from another condition altogether. Concern over the appearance of the affected toe or toe-related pain typically brings a patient in to see a doctor. The doctor will examine the patient’s toes, inquire about health history, pain levels, and how long the condition has been present. If no other condition appears to be the cause of the deformity then the doctor may suggest treatment for hammertoe correction.

How can hammer toe be corrected?

The solution to hammer toe can depend in part on what caused it. Hammer toe can be caused by:

  • Frequently wearing very high heels
  • Wearing shoes that are not the right size or that have been outgrown
  • Frequently wearing shoes with a short toe box
  • Some forms of arthritis
  • Birth defects

If the condition has been caused by the patient’s shoe wearing habits then switching shoes is likely to be the first step in addressing this condition. Supportive shoes with a roomy toe, minimal heel, and of the correct size will likely be recommended. There are surgical interventions that can also be considered, especially if the condition has been caused by arthritis or another progressive disorder that cannot be adequately addressed by non-surgical forms of therapy.

Though hammer toe can result in an unsightly deformity, it is not a condition to be ashamed of or scared of. Do not hesitate to speak with your doctor about the health of your feet; together you can successfully address hammer toe and other foot-related concerns.

Source: Wikipedia Hammer Toe? Sept. 9, 2013

Source: Mayo Clinic Hammertoe and Mallet Toe? Mayo Clinic Staff; March 15, 2013

Categories: General

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