Hammertoe Symptoms :
Visible deformity is the most obvious Hammertoe Symptoms of these conditions. This appearance is usually accompanied by the following:
- Pain and discomfort.
- Increasingly ill-fitting footwear. Many patients eventually have a difficult time finding shoes which are comfortable enough for daily wear.
- Excessive friction. This causes secondary symptoms such as corns and calluses.
- An abnormal gait and balance difficulties. Since the toes are locked into a fixed position they don’t function normally while walking or running. This can affect balance as well.
How are Hammertoe conditions diagnosed?
Your podiatrist will take a medical history and perform a physical exam. This is often enough to make a diagnosis, especially in advanced cases. Some version of the following questions will be asked:
- When did this problem start? Has it gotten worse with time?
- What kind of shoes do you wear on a daily basis? At work? At home?
- Do your feet hurt? If so, is the pain limited to the toes or does it affect other areas of the foot?
- Which activities cause you the most pain?
- Are you on your feet a lot? How much of your day is spent walking or running?
- Do you have a history of other foot problems? Have you ever had severe trauma to the affected foot?
- Are you diabetic? Do you have poor circulation or joint conditions such as arthritis, or have you ever had a stroke?
After taking a medical history your doctor will examine the toes to determine how much motion they have and how badly the joints are deformed. If some motion is still possible there’s a chance the problem can be fixed without surgery. Avoiding surgery is always a primary goal, even among podiatric surgeons.
Hammertoe Surgery Preoperative Studies
If surgery is the only option you’ll need additional tests before proceeding. These include but aren’t limited to:
- An X-ray study. This will let your surgeon see exactly what condition the joints are in and which procedure will help the most.
- A circulation study. This will usually include a Doppler ultrasound which can visualize blood flow in real time. If a patient’s circulation is impaired surgery may not be possible.
- Nerve conduction studies. As with circulation, nerve issues may make the surgery impossible. If there’s any doubt the patient will be sent to a neurologist for evaluation.