Is Hammertoe Hereditary?

Is Hammertoe Hereditary?

When you have hammertoe, you become keenly aware of things people take for granted — like being able to wear any pair of shoes or walk without developing a blister. This toe deformity can leave you hobbled, especially if you let it go unchecked. 

Fortunately, we can intervene. Our team at Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center specializes in treating hammertoe. You can visit our offices in Mesa, Laveen, or Chandler, Arizona to get specialized care for your toe — and tailored recommendations to help you prevent it from getting worse in the future. 

When you pay us a visit, you also get to sit down with an expert who can help you figure out what caused your hammertoe. 

When genes play a role

You might have inherited genes that make your feet unstable, heightening your risk for hammertoe.

You can also inherit Morton’s toe, which means your second toe is longer than your big toe. This can cause certain shoes to put pressure on your second toe, making you more likely to get hammertoe.

In some people, the hammertoe is congenital (i.e., they have it when they’re born). In the vast majority of cases, though, this condition develops over time because of the individual’s shoe choices. 

The most common cause for hammertoe

Long story short, your genes might make you more likely to get hammertoe — but they’re very rarely the primary cause. By far, the most common cause of hammertoe is overly small shoes. 

If you opt for footwear that doesn’t allow all of your toes to lie flat, the flexed position your toes maintain as you go about your day takes a toll. They can reach a point where the muscles and joints get so tight that they can’t stretch out, even when you remove the shoe. 

One day of this is already hard on your toes. But as you repeatedly wear small or narrow shoes, it gets worse. Eventually, you develop hammertoe. 

Plus, wearing too-small shoes can cause your toe to develop corns and calluses where it rubs against your shoe. The resulting thickened skin creates even less room in your shoe, worsening your symptoms. 

Correcting your hammertoe

If you catch it early, correcting hammertoe often comes as simply as swapping your footwear and making other minor adjustments. Foot exercises and custom orthotics can help here. 

Wait and let the toe get worse, though, and you’ll need more involved treatment. Some people require injections or even surgery because they’ve worn the wrong shoes for so long.

All told, your genes might play a small role in your hammertoe. In most cases, though, your daily choices make the biggest difference. For help adjusting them to prevent your hammertoe from getting worse, book an appointment online or over the phone at one of our offices in Mesa, Laveen, or Chandler, Arizona.

You Might Also Enjoy...