Summary of Chapter 16
She was beautiful, but her feet were jacked up. I pulled the covers back and it was hammertime.– Eddie Murphy in Boomerang
Nancy hobbled into my office with severe pain on the second toe of her right foot. An avid golfer, she couldn’t play anymore because the top of her toe rubbed painfully against the inside of her golf shoes and she was in agony in the fancy shoes she needed to wear to charity events. When I examined her feet, I saw that she had a hammertoe. In addition, she had a bunion and a big toe that was leaning into the second toe, causing it to lift upward.
I explained that we could fix the hammertoe, but without doing bunion surgery, too, it was never going to be perfectly straight. “That’s fine,” she said, “As long as we get rid of the bump and it no longer hurts.” She didn’t want to remodel her foot. (She was not one of those older women who are totally over done in terms of her appearance; she was age appropriate and elegant.)
A hammertoe is a permanent deformity of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes where the middle joint has become twisted into a claw-like or clenched position. Because the bent toe juts up into the air, it resembles the small hammer inside of a piano. If the curled-up toe joint is the one near the tip, as opposed to the middle, it’s called a “mallet toe.” A hammertoe can be difficult to move and to straighten, and can cause pain and pressure when you’re wearing shoes. To make matters worse, hammertoes often develop corns because the top and tip of the toes are pushed upward and rub against the inside of your shoes, as well as calluses between two toes or on the ball of the foot.
The Dynasplint System is a device that can be used to stretch out the joints and increase range of motion. (I always recommend the Dynasplint for hammertoes, but it can also be used for the bunion area as well as ankles, knees, plantar fasciitis, the jaw, shoulders, elbows, forearms, wrists, hands, and fingers.) This can be used at a podiatrist’s office, physical therapy center after surgery as part of the recovery process. The goal is to stretch the joints, which the Dynasplint does using spring-loaded tension
In this chapter of My Feet Are Killing Me Dr. Levine discusses:
- What is a hammertoe?
- What causes a hammertoe?
- Do hammertoes hurt?
- What can I do to fix a hammertoe permanently?
- How long is the recovery period after hammertoe surgery?
- Real Patient Recap: Feet Firmly Planted on the Ground. Nancy proves that age is just a number and that Dr. Levine knows precisely how to keep us going strong into our golden years.