With the onset of fall now upon us, it is very common for our podiatrists to begin to see more people with painful hammertoes, who are unable to find a pair of shoes that do not rub the tops of the toes. People who have worn sandals all summer and are ready to get back into closed-toed shoes often find themselves in discomfort trying to squeeze their foot back into a closed shoe, especially if it is a tight or improperly fitting shoe. These tight shoes can ultimately rub the toes along the top causing irritation and pain and sometimes can create open sores on the toes in those who have poor circulation or are diabetic.
Hammertoes are a common foot deformity caused by muscle imbalances and the improper pull of tendons causing the toes to curl, and not the tight shoes themselves as is often assumed. There are various descriptions for the shape of a hammertoe, but the condition is relatively the same: the toe bends improperly at a small joint in the toe causing the toe to not straighten out correctly. People who have painful hammertoes often describe the pain as sharp or shooting within the toe, or it may simply feel 'irritated'. They are unable to comfortably fit into their closed shoes, which can be frustrating.
There are various ways to treat hammertoes. These include the use of wider, deeper shoes as well as padding to reduce the skin irritation. To fully 'fix' the problem, surgical procedures are needed to straighten the toes, something our podiatrists have extensive experience with. These procedures are generally quick, and the recovery time is much shorter than many other foot procedures. If you suffer from curled toes that do not fit in your shoes, do not hesitate to contact us at Indiana Podiatry Group, as we would be happy to review options for getting you comfortably back into your shoes!