Bunions and Hammer & Claw Toes

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Bunions (hallux valgus), and hammer & claw toes are types of foot deformities:

  • Bunions – Bony protrusions of the “knuckle bone” that develop on the base of the big toe (metatarsal bone). They can cause pain, deformity, and redness.
  • Hammer & claw toes – These are common toe deformities that lead to curling of the toes and calluses.

As these conditions can worsen over time and cause further discomfort and deformity, it is key that patients see an orthopaedic doctor for targeted and early treatment.

What Causes Them?

While the exact cause of bunions is unclear, the following factors are known to increase the risk of developing or worsening one:

  • Having an abnormal foot structure
  • People who have rheumatic arthritis
  • Overpronation and flatfeet
  • Wearing high heels or ill-fitting shoes

Hammer & claw toes can be caused by the following factors:

  • Nerve disorders
  • Muscle imbalance
  • Certain medical conditions (rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes)
  • Wearing tight or narrow shoes

People who have bunions also have a higher chance of developing hammertoes.

Signs and Symptoms

BunionsCommon signs and symptoms of bunions include:

  • A visible lump at the base of the big toe
  • Pain, swelling, stiffness and redness at the bunion
  • Big toe may start to misalign and cross over the second toe
  • Corns and calluses between the toes might develop due to the misaligned big toe

Hammer & Claw ToesCommon signs and symptoms of hammer and claw toes include:

  • Toe(s) that are naturally and permanently bent downwards
  • Toe stiffness that develops over time
  • Corns and calluses, caused by the affected toe(s) rubbing against the shoes
  • Pain in the affected toe(s) when wearing shoes
  • Pain when trying to move or straighten the affected toe(s)

If you are experiencing pain and deformity in your toes,

make an appointment with our foot and ankle subspecialist at 62355225 for an accurate diagnosis.

What if Bunions and Hammer & Claw Toes are Untreated?

If these conditions are left untreated, they can worsen in the following ways:

  • Further pain and discomfort
  • Further deformity
  • Decreased mobility
  • Pain in the knees, hips, back, and head
  • Calluses & pressure sores
  • Increased muscle and tendon strain

How are They Diagnosed?

Although these foot deformities are readily apparent, your doctor will still perform a thorough evaluation to confirm the diagnosis and determine the appropriate treatment.

  • Physical Examination: Your doctor will assess your medical history, general health, and symptoms before performing a careful examination of your foot.
  • X-rays: An X-ray can show the alignment of bones in the toes and foot and the amount of joint damage or abnormality. This allows your doctor to confirm the diagnosis and assess the severity of the deformity.

How are Bunions and Hammer & Claw Toes Treated?

Once your doctor has evaluated your foot deformity, a treatment plan can be developed. Treatment options will depend on the type and severity of the condition, and can range from non-surgical to surgical.

Non-Surgical OptionsAlthough non-surgical treatment does not address the underlying cause, it can help to slow the progression of bunions, hammer toes, and claw toes, as well as alleviate pain.

  • Orthotics: These are specialised devices inserted into shoes to provide support and control abnormal foot movements.
  • Pain and anti-inflammatory medication: These help to temporarily reduce pain and inflammation in the affected areas.
  • Changing Footwear: Wearing shoes or sandals that fit properly with a wide or open-toe box that does not compress the toes can manage the pain.

Hammer & Claw Toes

In more serious cases, bunion surgery and surgery for hammer toes and claw toes is the only definitive way of permanently treating these foot deformities by correcting the structure of the toes itself. By surgically straightening the toes, proper mechanics of the foot can be regained.

The length of the recovery period will vary, depending on the individual and the procedure(s) performed. With over 30 years of experience, Dr Yung is proficient in the various types of surgery and techniques available to treat bunions, hammer toes and claw toes.

Our clinic provides a full range of treatments for bunions, hammer toes and claw toes.

Schedule a consultation at 62355225 today for a personalised treatment plan.

FAQs

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