Hammertoe is a medical condition in which one or more toes become bent at the middle joint, causing the toe to look like a hammer. This deformity can affect any toe but most commonly affects the second, third, or fourth toes. Your toe becomes stiff and painful, especially when wearing shoes. Early intervention and proper treatment can help prevent the condition from worsening and relieve your symptoms. The underlying cause of Huntsville hammertoes can include genetics, nerve damage, muscle imbalances, foot structure, injury, prolonged wearing of tight and ill-fitting shoes, and underlying medical conditions like arthritis and diabetes.
1. Foot structure
Foot structure refers to the shape and alignment of your bones and joints in the foot, which can affect the development of hammertoe. Certain foot structures, such as high arches or flat feet, can increase your risk of developing a deformity as they put more pressure on your toes and cause them to bend abnormally.
2. Muscle imbalances
Muscle imbalances refer to unequal tension or strength in the muscles that control the movement of the toes. This tension can cause pull your toes out of their normal position, leading to hammertoe. For instance, if the muscle that pulls the toe upwards is weaker than the muscle that pulls the toe downwards, your toe will start to bend at the middle joint, creating the characteristic hammer-like appearance. This muscle imbalance can occur due to injury, nerve damage, or other underlying medical conditions.
3 Wearing tight and ill-fitting shoes
Wearing tight and ill-fitting shoes can result in a hammertoe by placing excessive pressure on the toes, leading to the deformation of the toe joints. It can occur when your shoes are too narrow, have a cramped toe box, or have high heels that force your toes into a cramped position. Over time, this constant pressure can cause the muscles and tendons to shorten and pull the toes into a claw-like shape, resulting in a hammertoe deformity. To prevent this, you need to wear shoes with adequate room in the toe box and provide enough support for your feet.
You may inherit certain foot structures or muscle imbalances that increase your likelihood of developing hammertoe. However, it is crucial to understand that while genetics may contribute to the development of hammertoe, it is usually the result of multiple factors, including lifestyle and environmental factors.
Injury can damage the tendons, ligaments, or nerves in the foot, leading to a hammertoe. The tendons and ligaments are responsible for holding the bones in the foot in their proper alignment, and when they become damaged, they can cause the bones to shift out of place. In some cases, injury can also cause nerve damage in your foot, causing the muscles to lose their strength and flexibility. When the muscles in the foot cannot balance the bones properly, the toe may bend down at the middle joint and form a hammertoe.
If you have a troublesome hammertoe, call the Foot and Ankle Specialists office or book an appointment online for treatment.