What’s Making Your Toes Curl?

When people talk about a toe-curling event, they’re usually referring to something that makes them feel embarrassed about someone else’s actions. Cringe-worthy, toe-curling events happen everywhere, every day, which you know if you’ve been watching the news lately!

But if you discover one day that one of your little toes is literally curled under and won’t move, we wouldn’t describe it as a toe-curling event. We’d call it a hammertoe.

Who gets hammertoe, and why? Anyone can get a hammertoe if they have

  • A structural problem such as a high arch, an imbalance in the muscles of the toe, or tendons that have become overly tight
  • Arthritis
  • A family history of hammertoe
  • Spent a good deal of time wearing narrow, tight shoes that constrict the toes.

Two types of hammertoe

Hammertoe affects only the small toes and most often it’s the second, third, or fourth toe that won’t lie flat. Flexible hammertoes appear bent, but you can still move them around and they don’t usually cause pain. Rigid hammertoes are stiff and painful and can make walking difficult. Hammertoe is a progressive condition, meaning that a flexible hammertoe can become a rigid one – so it’s best to contact us at Montgomery Foot Care Specialists as soon as you suspect a hammertoe.

Treating hammertoe

Our qualified podiatrists, Dr. Chandra L. Day-Houts and Dr. Heidi M. Christie, will perform a thorough examination and assess how your hammertoe is affecting your movement. We may map out the extent of the deformity by taking x-rays.

Conservative treatment for a flexible hammertoe can be very effective and can include

  • Changing to shoes that are wide enough and long enough to properly fit your feet
  • Wearing a splint
  • Exercising your toes, such as using your fingers to stretch them out
  • Over the counter treatments for corns or calluses that have developed on the affected toes.

Rigid hammertoes and more severe cases will probably lead to a referral for outpatient surgery.

Don’t let a curled toe slow you down. For state-of-the-art podiatry services, call our Montgomery office at (334) 396-3668.