Many of us have heard the term “hammertoe”, but what is it?
The most common reason for hammertoes is due to an excessive amount of “pronation” (i.e., “flat-footing”) that occurs during walking (“gait cycle”).
It is normal for your foot to get a little flat when you walk. It should then recover later on in the gait cycle.
But when factors combine to cause your foot to stay flat for too long while walking then changes happen that result in hammertoes.
Many imbalances happen such as in the ligaments and muscles at the base of the toe joint (among many others; it’s complicated!) which can cause the middle toe bone to rise up out of its normal position.
This raised up, bent, toe can become painful when the toe rubs against the inside of shoes. It can also become aesthetically unpleasing.
All this leads to difficulty walking and wearing certain footwear.
What kinds of hammer toes are there?
There are a few different varieties of hammer toes which can appear on the feet.
Fortunately they can easily be treated if diagnosed early.
There are flexible hammer toes which can be manually straightened out but they then resume their bent shape when you let go of the toe. This is an early stage and therefore easier to treat.
Custom-made arch supports (“orthotics”) are made from plaster molds taken of your feet. They are always made in pairs. The molds are done while the podiatrist holds your foot in its “neutral” position. X-rays are also taken and from these and the podiatrist’s examination a laboratory will made a custom-fitted device. This device will replace the factory insert in your shoes or sneakers.
Rigid hammer toes are different in that they cannot be manually straightened out. The toe is permanently deformed and the bones inside the toe actually change their shape as the result of forces they experience from a long-standing deformity. Orthotics can sometimes help with these kinds of hammertoes and would be one method of treatment however surgery may become the only choice of treatment if conservative methods are not working to relieve your symptoms.
What Causes Hammer Toes?
Our toes are held in place by a wonderful balancing act of joint structures, ligaments, tendons, muscles and more working together. They all have to work in harmony and balance to have a toe that is able to do its jobs of stabilization, propulsion, balance, sensation and more.
When the balance between all these structures changes, a hammertoe can develop.
There is a huge amount of pressure put on the toe joints with each and every step we take, of everyday, especially in those of us who walk or run more than others.
High heeled shoes or narrow footwear can cause us to suffer from hammertoe development due to the way the foot mechanics change while wearing high heels or the very narrow space allowed for toes in some fashionable shoes or high heels.
Genetics play a highly significant role.
It is likely that those who have hammertoes occurring in their family, especially in either parent, are more likely to develop some form of hammertoes in their life. Children are not immune to developing hammertoes. Sometimes hammertoes develop early in a child’s or adolescent’s life.
Injuries to the foot can cause hammertoe to develop when the normal balance between bones, ligaments and tendons are put out of balance as the result of the injury. Broken bones of the toes, feet, ankle, leg and entire lower extremity can result in hammertoes developing months or years after the initial injury even with proper treatment done at the time of the injury because there are some damages that can occur where even though things heal, they heal with weakness, deformity, or some kind of imbalance in how the toe functions resulting in hammertoes.
Arthritis sufferers also know too well the damaging effects of their disease.
Diabetics are prone to developing hammertoes due to diabetes’ damage to a diabetics nervous system which then leads to imbalance as noted above.
The list of causes to hammertoes is long.
This has been an attempt to provide an introduction to the causes of hammertoes.
Contact your podiatrist if you suspect, suffer from, or know of someone who has hammertoes.
If you suffer from pain in the feet, corn formation, swelling, dislocation, have have had an injury, or any foot problem at all, it is best to contact a podiatrist for a thorough evaluation.
Early detection is the key to a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Call FAMILY FOOT CENTER located in the Whitestone Village of North Queens/Flushing New York at 917-563-4193 to make your appointment TODAY!
Visit us online at https://www.
Can shoes cause my foot pain?
When we think of footwear, we often concern ourselves with just the aesthetics of how a high heel may make us look. We think about how these shoes will make us feel taller, more confident and will dress up any outfit.
However, we often neglect to think about how this will make the bones, joints, ligaments and tendons in our feet react. Putting an unnatural arch or pressure on our toes and the soles of our feet may not sound as appealing in those stilletos!
Starting From The Bottom
Studies show that nearly all American adults suffer from some sort of joint or muscle pain. Some of the most common pain is Sciatica (or lower back pain) as well as hip and cervical spine (neck) discomfort. Very few patients realize that this pain can actually originate from the shoes they choose.
High heels change the way we walk and how pressures are experienced by our feet.
Normal walking is for our heel to contact the ground first, toes last.
High heels reverse this almost completely causing the front of the foot to contact the ground first and heel last. Also the front of the foot has to do much more in the way of balance and stabilization than it was intended to do.
The natural arch in the foot must be preserved and most shoes (from sneakers to flip flops) available in stores today do not offer this necessary support.
Ask The Doc Before You Shop!
Before going to the mall or your local boutique in search of a new pair of shoes for work or a special event, consult the expert: your podiatrist! They will evaluate the condition of your feet and will advise you of the best options. Shoes that tend to “pinch” the toes or raise the heel more than one and a half inches can cause pain and deformity (bunions, hammertoes and more) later down the road.
Call Family Foot Center located in Whitestone, Queens today to schedule your footwear consultation. Our doctor and experienced, professional staff will have you feeling stylish in comfort!
Need a Podiatrist in North Queens or Flushing New York?
FAMILY FOOT CENTER, in the Whitestone Village of North Queens and Flushing , is at 1257 150th Street, between 12th Road and 14th Avenue, across the street from Freddy’s Pizza and down the street from Cherry Valley.
Call toll free 888-718-1257 for your appointment!
With over 20 years of experience treating ingrown toenails, heel pain, arch pain, warts, corns, calluses, fungal toenails, plantar fasciitis, athletes foot and so much more, you benefit and get better fast!
State-of-the-art technology treats sprained ankles, broken feet and broken toes.
The Board-Certified doctors of FAMILY FOOT CENTER are experts in handling hammertoes, bunions and flatfoot corrections.
All insurance, union and other health plans are taken that let us treat you!
Visit Whitestone Podiatry dot com or call toll free 888-718-1257 today and start feeling better faster!
Our feet are very hardworking, essential parts of our body. They help us with strength, mobility and thousands of movements we perform everyday. The simple rule is: no feet, no go. Not without some sort of artificial aid like a wheelchair, artificial limb and the like. However, far too many of our feet go forgotten when it comes to healthcare. We take care of our teeth by visiting the dentist, our minds by allowing time to rest and our hearts and lungs by going to our primary care doctors. Our feet are often left neglected, but that can easily change!
Feet Are Fun!
The average adult takes over 5,000 to 7,000 steps every day, which is equivalent to about 2.5 to 3.5 miles! Not only is this a lot of motion and movement, but all while we put our entire body weight and more on our feet! If you have any doubts about how much pressure goes through every step we take just put your hand on the floor and have someone walk on on your hand. This will be an “impressive” experience, to say the least! With all that walking comes extensive wear, tear and the need for care! Visiting your podiatrist regularly will have them professionally examined for any signs of corns, calluses, fungus, deformities or muscular ailments. Doing so will ensure that you can continue being on the go, no matter where the road (or your favorite sneakers!) takes you!
Moisture And Massages
The majority of us have a sedentary work environment where there is not much opportunity for exercise during the day. This can be especially hard on our feet, especially while wearing formal footwear like high heels, which are not the ideal type of footwear for our feet. A fifteen minute foot massage every evening before going to bed can improve circulation in and out of the feet and if combined with lotions, can also help moisturize dry skin. These short nightly massages have been proven to have a variety of benefits beyond circulation. They improve mobility of the lower extremities, reduce muscle soreness and even strengthen the feet and ankles to help prevent future injuries from occurring.
Call 917.563.4193 to schedule your consultation and see how your feet can start working for you!
The shoes you purchase already come with insoles, but they might not be enough to support your foot health. Your podiatrist may recommend that you use over-the-counter (OTC) or custom orthotic inserts. Orthotics give your feet superior cushioning and support exactly where you need it most, such as under a high foot arch or a painful heel. Orthotics are also a good choice for people who are prone to plantar fasciitis.
Watch this featured video for an in-depth look at custom orthotics. It explains that orthotics can help relieve painful symptoms that affect your feet, knees, hips, and back. They’re also a good choice for patients with foot arthritis and neuromas.
Family Foot Center in Whitestone is pleased to offer a full range of foot health services, including thorough assessments and orthotics. You can call us at (718) 767-5555 to request an appointment with our podiatrist.