Toe Pain and Stiffness Are Symptoms of Hammertoes

Do one or more of your toes look curled or rigid? Does your toe rub against your shoe, causing painful calluses on the top of the toe?

If yes, you may have hammertoes. In this painful toe condition, the small joints of the toe contract because of a muscle or tendon imbalance. Calluses or corns can appear where the toe rubs against your footwear and often the toe may become fixed in this position.

A hammertoe can be caused by tight shoes or a high arch, and it can also be hereditary. Older individuals and women are much more likely to develop hammertoes and, if your second toe is longer than your big toe, that toe is at a higher risk of hammertoe. A foot or toe injury can result in hammertoes, which can become even more painful when arthritis sets in.

If these symptoms sound familiar, please come in for a visit. At the Podiatry Group of Annapolis, P.A., we will give your feet and toes a thorough examination. We'll establish the degree of muscle contraction by manipulating the toes and take x-rays right here in our office.

Treating Hammertoes

Once a hammertoe condition has set in, it won't go away by itself. Our first options for treatment will be conservative: 

  • Changing your shoes to those that are wider with low heels and lots of room in the toes.
  • Adding padding to ease the irritation of calluses and corns.
  • Applying straps or splints to help realign the bent toes.
  • Creating custom-fitted orthotics that can help with a muscle/tendon imbalance.
  • Using corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation.
  • Taking medications to ease pain and lessen inflammation such as ibuprofen.
  • Performing toe-stretching exercises to strengthen muscles.

In severe cases when the hammertoes are particularly tight or painful, we will discuss surgery with you.

Hammertoes Can Be Prevented

Avoid the pain of hammertoes by always wearing well-fitting shoes made of good quality materials. Your shoes should have plenty of room in the toe box so toes can wiggle and stretch. Shop later in the day when your feet are largest, and be sure to have both feet measured every time.

We Can Help with Toe Pain Caused by Hammertoes 

Dr. James M. McKee, DPM, board certified podiatrist, has extensive experience with hammertoes and other toe conditions and abnormalities. We will treat any foot and ankle problems promptly and expertly. Please call us at 410-224-4448 to make an appointment at our office in Annapolis, MD. You can also request an appointment through our website. Don't just tolerate your toe pain - call us today for healing and pain relief!