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Can Hammertoes Be Dangerous?

Can Hammertoes Be Dangerous?

With 28 bones in each of your feet, it's easy to see why issues like hammertoes occur. If you're having trouble moving one of your toes and it seems stuck in a bent position, you may live with a hammertoe.

The question then becomes, are hammertoes dangerous to your health? While not life-threatening, they can wreak havoc on your foot health and comfort.

Dr. David Deiboldt and the Beltsville Foot and Ankle Center team provide excellent care to patients with foot and ankle problems.

Dr. Deiboldt is an experienced podiatrist offering conservative and surgical treatments for hammertoes affecting your daily activities.

What are hammertoes?

Hammertoes are a problem that can affect any of the toes on your feet. When you have a hammertoe, your leg muscles are weak, leading to pulling on your toe's tendons.

When your muscles pull your tendons, it causes your toe to bend at the middle joint. Your toe can't lay flat and instead bends like a hammer.

There are different types of hammertoes, including flexible and rigid. You can still move your toe with a flexible hammertoe while a rigid hammertoe remains in a fixed position.

Signs of a problem

If you think you have a hammertoe, it's crucial to know the signs and symptoms so you can seek treatment early on. The following are common symptoms of a hammertoe:

The earlier you notice the symptoms, the more straightforward treatment is on your toe. Hammertoes are a progressive condition, meaning they continue to get worse without the proper treatment.

Once you have a rigid hammertoe, conservative measures may not be enough to alleviate your symptoms.

Complications of hammertoes

An untreated hammertoe worsens, leading to complications the longer it goes without treatment. While they're not inherently dangerous to your overall health, hammertoes can lead to severe complications, including:

Increased pain

As the hammertoe progresses, you experience more pain in the affected toe and the ball of your foot. If the hammertoe becomes rigid, you can't move it, causing more pain and discomfort.

Corn and callus formation

Corns and calluses begin to form from the joint rubbing on your shoes. If left untreated, these conditions may lead to more discomfort and possibly an open sore on your toe.

Difficulty walking

Rigid and semi-rigid hammertoes make it hard to walk in regular shoes due to their rubbing. With your toe bent, walking is typically tricky, causing even more problems in your feet.

Open sores

An open sore may form on the top of the toe joint that continues to rub on your shoes. Without treatment, the sore may become infected or be slow to heal.

Another complication of a hammertoe is a reduction in your quality of life. If you can't wear shoes comfortably or are in pain most of the day, the hammertoe takes over and requires treatment.

People with diabetes and neuropathy are in the most danger when it comes to hammertoes because they often can't feel pain or a sore forming on the toe.

If an open sore forms and someone with diabetes isn't aware, it may become infected, leading to a bone infection or the need to amputate the toe.

What if I have a hammertoe?

If you have a hammertoe, the best step is to evaluate your foot. Dr. Deiboldt has the tools and knowledge to determine if you have a hammertoe and provides expert treatment to improve your symptoms.

As soon as you notice something off with your toe, talk to Dr. Deiboldt as quickly as possible. He provides treatment measures to prevent your toe from worsening and causing complications.

If you have diabetes, seeking treatment for a hammertoe or any other foot issue is crucial. Diabetes affects circulation in your legs and feet and damages nerves, making you more prone to problems like open foot ulcers.

Call Dr. Deiboldt at our Beltsville, Maryland office today at 301-804-1174 to make an appointment to get treatment for a hammertoe or book a consultation online.

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