Hammer Toe, (L5thMet), Right foot Swelling and Redness.

Six weeks ago I manifested my first symptoms of hammertoe in my 5th toe on my left foot. My left ankle has been reconstructed twice due to a climbing incident.

I went to a podiatrist following a referral last week, 5 weeks after the onset of symptoms. I was diagnosed with hammertoe, given a cortisone shot, and told that if the symptoms didn’t abate that I would need surgery.

The day after the appointment my right foot began to manifest red “hotspots” on the 3rd joint of the 2nd toe, the 3rd joint of the 3rd toe, and on the side of the 5th toe, mirroring the left foot. Now the 5th toe is swollen like the other foot was, and I am in some pain with all three swollen red toes.

I’m considering forgoing a second visit to the podiatrist and going straight to an orthopedic shoe store to get a fitting for shoes that will alleviate pain and help restore my gait to something that will not exacerbate these problems.

Is it a terrible idea to skip the doctor with the onset of 3 new symptoms that mirror the first? I am not anxious to here another surgery recommendation, but I am also worried about the acute onset of 4 toe problems within 6 weeks of each other.

One Response

  1. Foot-com

    Thank you for your question. Hammertoes are one of the most common conditions seen by a Podiatrist. Often times it is not the contracture of the toe joint that causes pain, but rather pressure shoegear places on the top or sides of the toe. This excess pressure will create red, slightly inflamed skin or thickened skin (corn). A hammertoe is not a medical emergency necessitating immediate surgery.

    Many patients have hammertoes and can simply modify their shoegear to alleviate pressure off of the contracted joint. I have not examined you, but I suspect that you have had mild contractures in your digits that you were not aware of, and have been wearing shoes that were irritating the toes.

    Orthopedic or wider shoes may be a good option in your case. I also recommend to my patient’s with mild hammertoes that they need to strenthen the small muscles in their feet. I recommend barefoot exercises to keep the feet (and toes) strong. Good luck!

    Dr. Emily Splichal
    Please be advised: we do not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
    By law, we cannot give specific medical advice over the Internet.

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