What You Should Know About Hammertoe: Its Causes And Cures


Hammertoe is foot condition with a painful-sounding name that lives up to its billing. Also known as contracted toe, this sometimes-agonizing disorder is estimated to afflict close to 60 million Americans, most of whom are over 40 years of age. Hammertoe causes significant discomfort for its sufferers, but there are several possible treatment options available. Here is more information about hammertoe and how your podiatrist can help you recover from this debilitating condition:

What causes hammertoe?

Hammertoe is an alteration of muscle tissue within one, some, or all of the four small toes of a person's foot. Hammertoe is not seen in the big toe. Without intervention, the condition can become worse over time.

The primary cause of hammertoe is also the most preventable: the wearing of ill-fitting shoes. High-heeled, short, narrow, or otherwise cramped shoes often force the wearer's toes into unnatural positions within the shoe. When this occurs on a continuing basis, the toe (or toes) affected begins to undergo intramuscular changes; eventually, these muscles will shorten or twist in order to adapt to their confined surroundings. As a result, the toes curve downward into a shape that loosely resembles a hammer, which accounts for the name of the condition.

While poor-fitting shoes are the biggest cause of the disorder, other feet conditions such as bunions or arthritis can also cause hammertoes. Regardless of cause, the end result is pain, swelling, blisters and calluses.

How can hammertoe be treated?

Hammertoe is a highly-treatable condition, and early intervention is best since the deforming muscular changes can be reversed. Here are some ways that you and your doctor can alleviate the pain of hammertoe and even cure it altogether:

Wear proper fitting shoes – You can begin healing your hammertoe today by tossing out shoes that cause pain and starting to wear shoes that facilitate natural movement and positioning. Shoes should have a supportive heel and sufficient width and height at the toe end to give your toes adequate wiggle room.

Toe stretching – Though it may seem amusing to consider, toe stretching is a viable way to help naturally alleviate the symptoms of hammertoe. Toe stretches can be done almost anywhere, and they take just a few minutes a day. Here are a couple of exercises that can help stretch out the shortened muscles:

  • Toe grabs – use your toes to grab objects, such as paper, pencils and other lightweight items. Pick up the objects, carry them, and gently place them down in a different location.
  • Toe tugs – this is a simple exercise where you grasp your affected toes with your hand, and pull them straight out for several seconds a day. You can do this while watching television or while performing other sitting tasks. The more often you can stretch your toes on a daily basis, the quicker the muscles will respond and begin lengthening.

Surgery – In some instances, surgery may be necessary, especially if you aren't able to find relief by adjusting your shoe-wearing habits or by stretching your toes. Surgical interventions consist of the insertion of splints that force the affected toes to remain straight, including wired splints that "tie" together several toes at a time and internal splints that are individually fitted to each toe.

Hyaluronic acid injections – One of the most exciting innovations in treating hammertoe is the use of hyaluronic acid gel injections. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally-occurring chemical in the human body that serves a variety of purposes; however, it has been combined with other pharmaceutical products and resulted in great success when used as an internal "cushion" for painful toes. It is well-accepted by foot tissues, and its padding effect can last for a considerable amount of time.

For more information, check out a website like http://www.footanklesurgerynyc.com.


15 December 2014

Tips for Living a Great Life with Chronic Illness

I was always very healthy throughout my childhood, but when I became a teenager, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness. Thankfully, I had the support of my loving family to help keep me upbeat during a time that could have led to me experiencing the depression that some do after they first learn they will have an illness for life. I am very grateful for the advice I have gotten throughout my life, so I decided to create a blog where I can share all of the advice that has helped me live a happy, healthy life, despite having a chronic illness. Since I am on a medication that suppresses my immune system, I have also studied up on many other illnesses and tips for avoiding them and treating them. I plan to post health tips for people of a variety of ages and suffering with various illnesses!