If you have hammertoes, a structural weakness in your foot leads to one or more of your toes permanently taking on a bent position. In the early stages of this common podiatric condition, it’s still possible to straighten the affected toe or toes. However, in more advanced stages, affected toes become rigidly bent.
Especially in the early stages, hammertoes might not seem like a big deal, or worth getting checked out by a specialist. In the long run, getting hammertoes treated promptly prevents dealing with more serious, invasive treatment needs.
At The Foot Care Group, board-certified podiatrist Dr. Steve Sharlin provides comprehensive care for hammertoes. Whatever stage of your condition, Dr. Sharlin can restore the shape and function of your toes from his offices in Hinsdale, Libertyville, and the Streeterville community of Chicago, Illinois.
Still not convinced that you need to treat your hammertoes? Let Dr. Sharlin help you understand why it really is worthwhile.
The progression of hammertoes
When your second, third, fourth, or fifth toes start to be affected by this condition, it’s challenging to get too stressed out about what seem like very minor symptoms. And, at least at first, your symptoms are likely to be mild, just a strange shape to some of your toes that causes your foot to look a bit funny.
However, hammertoes develop over time, and worsen without early treatment. As your toes become more rigidly bent over, you could start to notice more intrusive symptoms. For example, shoes might not fit properly. You could start to develop corns and calluses where your front foot rubs against your footwear.
Left untreated, hammertoes can cause toe pain, redness and inflammation, and open sores. And, treatment gets more difficult as the condition progresses and your toes become more and more inflexibly bent.
Treating hammertoes at different stages
It’s notably a lot easier to treat hammertoes in the early stages of the condition. As the deformity becomes more severe, the treatments necessary to correct the problem become more intensive and invasive. This condition changes the structure of your toes’ muscles and tendons.
In early stages, hammertoes may be treatable with simple lifestyle changes and conservative treatment options. Just changing your footwear, or adding custom orthotic devices positioned inside your shoe, can make a big difference in relieving pressure on your toe joints.
As your hammertoes become more severe, it becomes more likely that you’ll need surgical treatment to resolve your condition and restore the shape and function of your foot. Dr. Sharlin can also recommend oral and injectable medications to help manage pain and inflammation related to hammertoes.
Dr. Sharlin examines your foot, using diagnostic imaging technology like X-rays to determine how far your condition has progressed, and the right treatment plan to correct your hammertoes.
He uses conservative treatment options and therapies as much as possible, often more of a viable option if you’ve sought care and evaluation promptly on starting to see symptoms.
For the treatment you need to correct your hammertoes, and to keep your condition from progressing any further, contact Dr. Sharlin at The Foot Care Group today. Book your initial consultation appointment by calling now, or request an appointment online.