Jim Francois, D.P.M., P.T, PA
Foot & Ankle Surgeon & Podiatrist located in North Miami Beach, FL
When you notice that your toes are bending, creating an upside-down V, don’t wait to seek professional help. Podiatrist Dr. Jim François offers patients in North Miami Beach, Florida hammertoe diagnosis and treatments to help reduce pain and increase their range of motion. Don’t risk the permanent disfigurement that can occur when hammer toes are left untreated. Call the office today, or go online to schedule your initial consultation with Dr. François. Dr.François also serves the communities of Aventura, Miami, Miami Gardens, Miami Lakes, North Miami, Opa-Locka, and Sunny Isles, FL.
Hammer Toe Q & A
What is hammertoe?
A hammertoe forms when the first joint of your toe, called the proximal interphalangeal joint, bends. Referred to as a contracture, a hammer toe often becomes red and swollen at the first joint, and moving the joint may cause pain. You may also experience pain where the top of your toe presses on your shoes. Due to this pressure, corns and calluses often form on the top of hammer toes.
Hammertoes can be classified in two different forms. Flexible hammertoes are diagnosed in the development stage and still have joint movement. Rigid hammertoes are more severe and form when there’s a lack of treatment or with other, underlying conditions, such as arthritis. With rigid hammertoes, your toe tendons tighten, causing misalignment in the joint that leads to immobility.
What causes hammertoes?
Hammertoes occur when the muscles in your toes are abnormally balanced. This imbalance creates unnecessary pressure on certain parts of your toes, mainly your joints and tendons, causing the toes to bend.
In many cases, heredity and trauma can make the formation of hammer toes more likely, as can arthritis. In some cases, ill-fitting shoes can lead to hammertoes because of the squeezing caused by too-tight toe boxes.
How do you treat hammertoe?
If your hammertoe is mild or in the early stages of development, Dr. François recommends wearing an over-the-counter hammertoe pad where the joint bends and becomes inflamed. These pads can decrease the pressure on your toe that creates the pain and aching.
With pain or swelling, apply ice multiple times a day to keep inflammation down.
Wearing shoes with a deep toe box reduces pressure and helps prevent the condition from worsening. If you can’t find a deep toe box, opt for a loose-fitting shoe when your toes inflame. Avoid shoes that are tight or narrow, as well as heels more than two inches high.
When these at-home treatments don’t bring relief, or your hammertoe worsens, Dr. François may suggest:
- Padding and taping your toe
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Cortisone injections
- Custom shoe inserts, called orthotic devices
In cases where these treatments don’t work, Dr. François may recommend surgery to prevent your hammertoe from progressing.
If you think you may have a hammer toe, call the office today or go online to book your appointment.