Everyone’s feet are different. You might have a high arch, while someone else has a long second toe. To some extent, foot differences can be chalked up to our unique makeup.
Some differences are worth watching out for, though. Take a bend in the middle of your second, third, or fourth toe as an example. A healthy toe lays flat when your foot is relaxed. But if your toe stays bent, you probably have a condition called hammertoe.
When you treat it early, this issue isn’t a big deal. But if you let it go unchecked, it can lead to surgery. That’s why Christopher Vittori, DPM, Ameet Thakrar, DPM, and our team at Vittori Foot & Ankle Specialist specifically offer hammertoe treatment at our offices in Homer Glen and New Lenox, Illinois.
At first, hammertoe may seem like it’s not an issue. In the early days, your toe just looks different (check out this image on the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ informational page to get an idea).
Over time, though, the bend in your toe generally becomes so pronounced that it starts rubbing against the top of your shoe. Suddenly, your footwear options feel limited, and walking in a closed-toe shoe gets increasingly painful.
If you let the hammertoe go untreated, the shortened muscles that cause it get fixed in that position. At that point, you’ll need surgery to correct it.
The good news? If you treat hammertoe early, it can generally be corrected with conservative treatment options.
Here at Vittori Foot & Ankle Specialist, Dr. Thakrar and Dr. Vittori start by determining the severity of your condition. They generally use tools like X-rays along with a physical exam of the toe. This allows them to best tailor a treatment plan for you.
In its early phases, hammertoe can generally be treated by:
We work with you to apply the right combination of conservative options to correct your toe. We may combine better shoe choices with orthotics and stretches you do at home, for example.
If you come to see us soon enough after the hammertoe develops, these options should be enough to lengthen the muscles in your toe, allowing it to lie flat. If your toe doesn’t respond to these treatments, though, we may recommend surgery.
Fortunately, we offer minimally invasive hammertoe surgery. Through tiny incisions, we can release any rigid muscles causing the improper bend in your toe.
The longer you let your hammertoe go unaddressed, the more involved your treatment will need to be. To address it early, when it’s easiest to correct, call Vittori Foot & Ankle Specialist or schedule an appointment online today.