Bunions, Hammertoes and Clawtoes

A bunion is a protruding bump on the inside of your foot where the big toe and foot meet. When your big toe pushes against the next toe, the joint of the big toe sticks out sideways and enlarges. The bump may also be swollen and red and can lead to a lack of mobility in the big toe or the entire foot. Not all big toe swelling is a bunion though, and it’s worthwhile to have your physician examine any comparable issues. Small bunions can also develop on the outside of the little toe as well, called bunionettes. Many orthopedic options to surgically correct bunions are available.

Hammertoe is a condition causing toes to bend downward at the middle joint instead of pointing forward. The distinguishing factor is a middle toe joint that is pointed up. The affected toe may be hard to move, painful, or it may develop corns and calluses. People with arthritis or diabetes are at higher risk of developing hammertoe, as are those whose second toe is longer than the big toe.

Clawtoes are often thought of as the result of toes that are compressed constantly until they no longer straighten. While this is true, clawtoes are also the product of nerve damage from diseases that weaken muscles in the foot, such as diabetes, muscular dystrophy, or even alcoholism. This affliction generally impacts all the toes and can result in constant pressure – both on the balls of your feet and above your big toe – that may irritate your skin or cause corns to form. Without treatment, claw toes can become a permanent defect.

These issues are primarily caused by tight shoes and pain may be alleviated by wearing sandals or more accommodative footwear. Adequate toe room is essential. Utilizing toe pads from a drugstore can be helpful as well. However, if any of these complications persist, it’s a good idea to consult one of our orthopedic physicians for an examination and discussion about your options.

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