Fungus Services

Lincoln Park Podiatry

Podiatrist located in Lincoln Park | Lakeview, Chicago, IL

Does one of your toes look dissimilar from the rest? Hammertoe is a common but sometimes painful condition in which a toe abnormally curves to point downward, resembling a hammer. At Lincoln Park Podiatry in Lincoln Park and Lake View in Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Michael Williams treats patients with hammertoe and other conditions that may jeopardize your foot health. Book an appointment today to address your foot health concerns by calling the office or scheduling online.

Fungus services Q&A

What is a hammertoe?

A hammertoe is a condition where the toe joint causes your toe to bend or curve downward, making it look like a hammer.

While hammertoe doesn’t usually pose any significant danger, it can get worse over time and cause permanent toe deformity and pain.  

What are the symptoms of hammertoe?

Hammertoes tend to be obvious and easily diagnosable. In addition to your toe appearing awkwardly bent, you might also experience:

  • Pain in the affected toe, especially during certain activities that put pressure on the feet or while wearing shoes
  • Swelling, inflammation, or throbbing in the toe or foot area
  • Corns or calluses on the affected toe

An evaluation with Lincoln Park Podiatry is your best bet to determine if you’ve developed a hammertoe.

What causes a hammertoe?

A hammertoe can develop for different reasons. You might be more likely to develop it if: 

You wear ill-fitting shoes

High heels or tight footwear can crowd the feet, preventing your toes from staying flat and warping the shape of one or more of your toes

You’ve injured your toe

A broken or stubbed toe can turn into a hammertoe or mallet toe.

You have certain health conditions

Diabetes and other health conditions can make you more prone to develop foot problems and toe deformities.

You might also develop the condition if you have imbalanced toe muscles. Whether it’s from age, genetics, or activity, sometimes the toe muscles can become imbalanced, which distributes pressure on tendons and ligaments that can cause hammertoes.

Women also tend to develop hammertoe more often than men.

How is hammertoe treated?

Your Lincoln Park Podiatry provider can recommend a customized treatment plan for your hammertoe, which may include:

  • Toe exercises or stretches
  • Hammertoe pads or toe cushions
  • Changing your footwear
  • Wearing shoe inserts
  • Cortisone shots to help with pain relief

In cases where the problem can’t be remedied with noninvasive methods, surgery might be required to correct a hammertoe. These treatments are usually outpatient procedures that may involve removing part of your toe joint, rearranging tendons around the toe, or shortening the toe bone.

If you’re concerned you’ve developed a hammertoe, call the experts at Lincoln Park Podiatry today or schedule an appointment online.