When it comes to life’s little problems, there’s one golden insight that applies to virtually all of them: if you don’t act, most small issues will turn into big issues given enough time. A tiny crack in the foundation of your home grows little by little, until moisture, termites, or even severe structural issues emerge. Strange noises coming from under your hood could be the first signs of impending doom for your vehicle. So too with foot problems like hammertoes.
Hammertoes are a classic example of a progressive foot deformity. One day, you may look down at your feet and realize some of your toes stay bent in a scrunched position. You can’t straighten them out again by using the muscles in your feet, although you can push them back into place with your hands. There’s no pain, so you don’t think much of it.
Over time, though, the bend in the toes becomes more pronounced. You may notice that the tips of the toes are beginning to push into the insole of your shoe, while middle toe knuckles are scraping the top. And that joint just really doesn’t want to flex any more, even if you try to push or pull at it with your fingers. You’re starting to feel pain when you wear shoes, and corns or blisters are popping up where friction occurs.
Delaying treatment until your hammertoes reach this stage means that you wind up with a lot more pain, discomfort, and restrictions to your lifestyle than you would have if you had sought a podiatrist earlier in the process. But that’s not the only downside. By waiting, you’ve taken a problem that could have been managed conservatively (with orthotics, physical therapy, shoe changes, etc.) and allowed it to become one that will probably need to be corrected surgically.
So don’t delay hammertoe treatment, or any other source of foot pain, deformity, or abnormality you may observe in your day-to-day life. Doing so will only make the problem worse, and more difficult to deal with in the end!If you see your toes beginning to bend downward, stop in and see us at Family Foot Care & Surgery today. You can book with Dr. Patel and his staff in either Milford or Hamden by calling (203) 876-7736.