Hammertoes are generally associated with spending a little too much time in high heels or narrow, pointed shoes, and there’s a good reason for that—in most cases, it holds up as true. However, cramped toe boxes aren’t the only possible explanation for a bad case of bent toes. One other condition that often leads to hammertoes is arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis, also known as RA.
Unlike other forms of arthritis caused by wear and tear, RA is a systemic inflammatory disease in which the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of joints, causing them to swell. The primary targets are often the small joints in your hands and feet, and often the first signs can be detected there.
The swelling that occurs in your joints, and the resulting damage, may cause toes to bend and stiffen—that is, they cause of case of hammertoes (or a related problem, such as claw toes) to develop.
As with any other cause, hammertoes as a result of RA are treated first using conservative methods, which do not “correct” the deformity but may bring significant symptom relief. Should these procedures be ineffective, surgical correction may be considered.
Of course, this only addresses a consequence of RA, rather than the fundamental condition. Unfortunately, there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but you can control pain through shoe modifications, medication, stretching, and exercise. Our office can help you with that, too, including fitting you for orthotics or guiding you through a physical therapy routine.
If you’re having any problems with your feet, whether as a result of arthritis, hammertoes, or any other condition, call the experts at Carolina Podiatry Group. The sooner you seek help, the more likely conservative methods will be sufficient to relieve painful symptoms and get you back on your feet. To schedule an appointment in Lancaster, Fort Mill, or Chester, SC, request an appointment online or give us a call toll free at 888-569-9559.