Toe deformities are more common than you think. Whether you have hammer toes, claw toes, mallet toes, bunions or bunionettes, the discomfort, embarassment, and aggravation you are likely experiencing is something we hear from our patients all the time.
Hammer, claw, and mallet toes are caused by different factors and range from mild to severe. Over the years of treating patients here in Los Angeles, we've seen and successfully treated cases from fairly minor to very debilitating, using both conservative treatment options and minimally-invasive sugical techniques when necessary.
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Your condition is unmistakably unique, and although it may be diagnosed as a simple hammer toe or a bunionette, 60 years of combined experience has taught us that no treatment solution is complete without fully understanding the history of the problem in depth and from the patients viewpoint.
We can also say from experience that delaying a doctors visit because the deformity is embarassing, is rarely a good idea. What today may be addressed with conservative treatment like orthotics, can require surgery few years down the line if the developing deformity is left unattended and allowed to progress.
Hammer toe is a condition that occurs in second, third or fourth toes. It is called a hammer toe because when the toe is bent at the middle joint it resembles a hammer. If you have a hammer toe it can be flexible initially, but with time is can become fixed and may require a more aggressive correction procedure. You may also develop or already have corns or calluses on top of the toe at the second joint or at the very tip of the toe.
You may have developed a hammer toe from ill-fitting shoes or from a muscle imbalance. Several factors may have contributed to development of your deformity and it is something we factor into designing a correct treatment plan. When caught early hammer toes can be efffectively treated with conservative methods, but it does takes experience of a foot specialist to determie severity and decide on the most effective treatment approach.
If you have diabetes, poor circulation, or lack of sensation in your feet you should contact our office before attempting self-treatment. Our initial consultations are free and you will benefit from opinion of one of our foot specialists experienced in treatment of hammer toes.
Although patients often attribute claw toe to improper or ill-fitting footwear, this is not always the case. This condition is often the result of nerve damage that may have resulted from disease like diabete. Alcoholism can also be a potential cause because it can weaken muscles in your foot resulting in toe muscle imbalance.
Claw toes characteristically curl or "claw" and the deformity causes the toes to dig into the sole of the shoe. Aggravating calluses often develop and whe untreated claw toes can get worse and result in a permanent deformity. Call our office and schedule a complimentary foot exam if you suspect you have a claw toe. We can help you make the first step in treating this condition and prevent it from becomeing a burden in the future.
When diagnosing claw toes we take into consideration many factors and try to rule out neurological disorders that can create muscle imbalance. Previous trauma and inflamation can also lead to formation of claw toe, and your insight as a petient is always invaluable in this regard.
Much like hammertoes, mallet toes are sometimes caused by ill-fitting footwear that forces the toe against the front part of the shoe, causing it to bend into an unnatural position. Other causes of mallet toes include muscle injuries and nerve damage (neuropathy) caused by conditions like diabetes, stroke, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Treating mallet toes early offers the best chance of successful correction without the use of surgery. Mallet toes are initally flexible, but can stiffen with time as tendons begin to tighten resulting in a permanent deformity.
Typically we can address this deformity with simple conservative treatment. If you have mallet toes we encourage you to take advantage of our free inital consultations and talk to our foot specialist about early treatment of your toes.
As with most medical conditions, an accurate and early diagnosis by a medical professional specilizing in foot disorders and their treament will give you a tremendous head start in getting your foot, ankle or toe problem treated with best possible outcome. Our patient satisfaction and treatment history are second to none and our initial consultations are always free.