Do you ever wonder why your toes seem to be curling?
Curled toes are often referred to as Hammertoes or Mallet toes. They are one of the most common causes of pain and discomfort we see in our patients at NTFA. Over time the shape of our toes can change due to muscle imbalances or tight tendons. These imbalances cause the toe to curl and the joints to become flexed or contracted
You may start to notice when you are walking that your toes are curling when they touch the ground, this is a flexible deformity. The toes are straight when resting but when they touch the ground they ‘curl up’. Over time these muscular imbalances can increase and lead to a rigid deformity where your toes are curled all the time and are unable to be straightened.
When our toes are ‘stuck’ in a rigid or unmoveable contracture or even a flexible contracture, there are many issues that can arise such as calluses on the top of the toes, blisters, and even wounds. Pain in shoegear may be a daily occurrence when you have hammertoes, but luckily there are treatments.
Flexible – Flexible hammertoes are able to be straightened out, and the contracture is not present all the time
Semi- Flexible – These toes may be straightened to a degree, however, there is a rigid component that cannot be straightened.
Rigid – Rigid Hammertoes are unable to be straightened and are held in a contracted or curled position.
In order to assess hammertoes, our physicians will perform x-rays and a thorough physical exam to determine the best treatment for you.
Depending on the level of contracture and discomfort there are an array of treatments for toe deformities, both conservative and surgical to alleve your pain. One of the simplest ways to accommodate hammertoes is by wearing accomodating shoegear with a wide toe box and a flexible fabric that can stretch to fit your toes without applying pressure.
Biomechanics refers to the muscle, tendon, and bone interactions of our foot that can lead to changes over time. With orthotics, we are able to control and alter the biomechanics of the foot to help balance muscle and tendons that may be a solution for your hammertoes. With advances in technology, we are able to offer custom inserts that tailor to your foot type and counteract mechanical changes.
Surgery is also an option for hammertoes, it is almost always an outpatient procedure that can be performed in conjunction with other corrections such as bunions. The type of surgery depends on your specific type of hammertoes.
These are just a few of the options we have available at North Texas Foot and Ankle, we will work with you to find a treatment that gets you back on your feet.
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