Can a Man Get Hammertoes? 4 Hammertoe Warning Signs for Men

toeEven though many people associate hammertoes with women’s uncomfortable high heels, they aren’t the only cause; men may find themselves with hammertoes from long term muscle strain, injury, or tight shoes. Some people are even genetically predisposed to hammertoes. If you experience foot pain or discomfort, examine your feet for signs of hammertoes so you can seek proper medical attention.

Meet With a Doctor

Any foot-related concern deserves a professional’s opinion, so even if you don’t know if you have hammertoes, schedule an appointment with a specialist. If the specialist does find you have hammertoes, he can recommend either surgical or non-surgical treatments. Learn more about the procedures available to manage and cure hammertoes, and educate yourself on the condition. It doesn’t go away without treatment, and it will only get worse if you ignore it.

Painful Toes

If your toes cause you pain, you may have already let hammertoes go too long without treatment. If the pain is exacerbated when you stretch your toes downwards in particular, the signs may point to hammertoes. Hammertoe pain also worsens when wearing shoes, walking on the foot and applying pressure to the foot. Any pain in your toes is cause for concern, so seek medical attention promptly. It’s preferable to get treatment even before you feel pain, as pain is an eventual complication of hammertoes that only worsens with time. It’s quite possible you have hammertoes without feeling much pain yet.

Curling Toes

Even before pain sets in, hammertoes are distinguished by a curling downward appearance. Although some healthy feet may appear less flat footed than others, in general, healthy toes do not bend unnaturally and tuck downward.

Hammertoes bend at the middle joint. The upper part of the toe remains flat against the ground as usual, but there’s a large swollen bend at that middle joint. Two other conditions, mallet toes and claw toes, bend similarly to hammertoes. Mallet toes bend downward sharply at the top joint, nearest the toe nail, and claw toes bend at the middle joint far more sharply than hammertoes, with the very tip of the toe scuffing against the ground when you walk. You might also have curly toes, in which the middle joint bends and tucks the top part of the toe completely beneath, so the toe nail itself is dragging against the ground as you walk or stand. Any of these conditions merit treatment from a hammertoe specialist, so don’t be too concerned with the exact definition of your bent toe at the self-diagnosis stage.

Shoe Discomfort

hammertoeYou may not yet feel pain in your toes when barefoot , but if you’ve tried several types of shoes in different sizes and almost all of them cause you discomfort in the toe area, you could be suffering from hammertoes — or causing them. A specialist can help you choose shoes and padding optimal to avoid exacerbating the condition. Just because you only experience pain in shoes, don’t let it go without medical intervention; eventually you’ll feel pain even when barefoot.

Skin Thickening

Another sign of hammertoes is thickening foot skin around the toe, especially at the base of the toe and the middle joint. The skin thickens over time due to repeated stresses against the skin. There are a number of fairly benign foot conditions, such as calluses and corns, that cause thickening of the skin, but if the thick skin is paired with any of the other symptoms of hammertoes, it’s worth having a doctor take a look.

Healthy Cells Magazine reports 20 percent of patients with hammertoes are men. While this does mean hammertoes are a more prominent issue for women, largely because women are more likely to wear unsupportive and damaging shoes such as high heels, there are still a significant number of cases in the male population. If you’re not sure if what you’re experiencing is hammertoes, meet with a specialist anyway. Any pain, discomfort or deformity in your foot could lead to worse problems later on. It’s better to seek treatment than assume it’ll work itself out, as conditions such as hammertoes don’t get better on their own.

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