It’s really cold here in NYC, and most people are keeping their toes thoroughly bundled up. The boots do come off at some point, and that’s when my NYC podiatry patients notice the corns, bends and bumps in their toes. And those tight fitting shoes may exacerbate one of the most common conditions seen in a NYC podiatry office – the hammertoe.
So what is a hammertoe?
A hammertoe is a condition in which the small joints of the toe bend in a flexible or rigid manner, and more than the normal, anatomic bend that is observed in almost all toes. This is a congenital and progressive deformity that becomes worse over time. The condition may start as flexible, and progress to become more rigid. Any of the toes may be affected, including the big toe, however the deformity is most often symptomatic in the second and fifth toes. Tight shoes don’t cause a hammertoe, but they can make it worse and certainly make the condition feel worse. And then there is the dreaded corn – a knot of hard skin that can develop on the top of one of the knuckle joints of the toe in response to the pressure and friction exerted on the area by the underlying bone and overlying shoe, and which may itself become painful over time.
What are the treatments?
Initial treatment of a hammertoe is conservative. As the condition is exacerbated by tight shoes, the best initial treatment is the use of a wider shoe with a generous toe box. A painful corn can be shaved by a NYC podiatrist on a regular basis, and padding made of soft material, available at a NYC podiatry office, will help to alleviate pressure. If these treatments fail, successful surgical treatments are available, with minimal downtime, and in many cases surgery can be performed comfortably in an office setting.
So, if your toes are starting to resemble a Da Vinci sculpture and Grandma’s shoes feel tight, make an appointment with your NYC foot doctor where help is always available.
See you in the office.
Dr. Ernest L. Isaacson