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Do I Need an X-Ray to Diagnose Hammertoes?

Tuesday, 05 October 2021 00:00

Hammertoe is a common foot deformity in which one or more of the four smaller toes bend downward at the middle joint, causing the affected toes to have a hammer-like shape. This condition can cause pain and discomfort that progressively worsens over time. The tops of the toes may develop corns or calluses as they rub against the inside of your shoes when walking. Diagnosing and treating hammertoe early is important, as the deformity can eventually become permanent. Your podiatrist will usually be able to diagnose hammertoe through physical examination alone. However, they may suggest an X-ray if they suspect that you could have arthritis or another condition that might be responsible for the hammertoe. In rarer cases, where the hammertoe is extremely painful, your doctor might also recommend that a fluid sample be taken from the joint to check for signs of infection or gout. If you have painful hammertoe, please seek the care of a podiatrist. 

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact one of our podiatrists of North Bay Ankle & Foot Center. Our doctors will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that occurs due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight. It can be caused by the type of shoes you wear, your foot structure, trauma, and certain disease processes.

Symptoms

  • Painful and/or difficult toe movement
  • Swelling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Calluses/Corns
  • Physical deformity

Risk Factors

  • Age – The risk of hammertoe increases with age
  • Sex – Women are more likely to have hammertoe compared to men
  • Toe Length – You are more likely to develop hammertoe if your second toe is longer than your big toe
  • Certain Diseases – Arthritis and diabetes may make you more likely to develop hammertoe

Treatment

If you have hammertoe, you should change into a more comfortable shoe that provides enough room for your toes. Exercises such as picking up marbles may strengthen and stretch your toe muscles. Nevertheless, it is important to seek assistance from a podiatrist in order to determine the severity of your hammertoe and see which treatment option will work best for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Petaluma and Sonoma, CA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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