Knowing about hammertoe development can help you take measures to prevent the condition from developing in the first place. Now, there are some cases that are unavoidable, but we hope you are able to prevent having to deal with this problem (if possible).
Generally speaking, hammertoe is typically the result of imbalance between the muscles and tendons on the tops and bottoms of toes. Too much tension on one side leads to a problem, especially when the opposing muscle or tendon doesn’t have as much strength. More specifically, though, a hammertoe condition can be caused by any of the following:
- Footwear – Certain types of shoes—like ones with high heels or that are too tight in the front—force your toes into unnatural positions. If you spend too much time wearing these kinds of footwear, your toes might develop a deformity. More likely, though, this is actually contributing to an existing problem. One way to avoid this is by choosing comfortable, low-heeled shoes that have room in the front so your toes can wiggle.
- Nerve disorders or injuries – If you have sustained nerve damage from a traumatic injury (like a broken toe bone) or a medical issue like diabetes, you might develop a case of hammertoe. In these instances, there may not be much that can be done with regards to prevention, but our office provides professional care and treatment. (If you have diabetes, you really need to come see us for a diabetic foot care plan!)
- Physical trauma – Injuring a toe—especially by stubbing, breaking, or jamming it—can increase the possibility that you develop hammertoe or a related deformity (claw toe or mallet toe). It’s hard to prevent accidents, of course, but take careful measures when you are carrying heavy items and make sure you wear protective footwear if you do so frequently (like for work).
General risk factors that make it more likely for you to develop hammertoes and related toe deformities (mallet toe, claw toe) include:
- Toe length – Having a second toe that is longer than the big toe means you have a greater risk of hammertoe (or mallet toe).
- Age – The risk of toe deformities like hammertoe increases as you become older.
- Gender – Women have higher odds of developing this condition than men do.
No matter the inherent cause or risk factor responsible for your condition, Foot Specialists of Long Island provides expert podiatric care to address the problem for you. If you’re dealing with a bothersome case of hammertoe (or claw or mallet toes!), let us help. Call our Massapequa, NY office at (516) 804-9038 or contact us online directly through our website today.