Heel Spurs

What are bunions and hammer toes?

Bunions and hammer toes are similar in that they are both painful bumps on the foot that involve the bones.
Hammer toes are deformities of the joints of the toes. Bunions are bony bumps that form at the base of the
big toe where it attaches to the foot.

Hammer toes

Hammer toes are deformities of the three middle toes of the foot. They appear to always be bent.
There are actually two types of hammertoes, flexible and rigid. If the toe can be moved at the joint, that is a less
severe form of the problem. If the joint is rigid surgery is usually required to correct it. Hammertoes stick up, rub
on shoes and can be a serious problem for people with diabetes, who need to take special care of their feet and
avoid skin irritation.

Bunions

Bunions are caused when the big toe is pressured to move closer to the other toes. The base of the big
toe pushes outward and an unnatural bony hump, or bunion, forms on the bone directly behind the toe.

What causes bunions and hammer toes?

Shoes that don’t fit properly, foot injuries, and rheumatoid arthritis can cause bunions and hammer toes. If a bunion
forms it can result in hammer toes. Hammer toes and bunions occur when the toes are pushed and squeezed,
especially with high pressure like that caused by narrow high heels. This causes the muscles to become unbalanced
and as a result either the toes gets pushed into a upward pointing V shape causing hammer toes, or the big toe gets
pushed in causing a bunion.

How do I know if I have bunions or hammer toes?

You can see them. A bunion is big bump on the bone at the base of your big toe. Hammer toes make the three middle
toes look like they are permanently in an upside down V shape. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain at the top of your toes when putting on shoes.
  • Corns forming on the top of the toe joints
  • Swelling and redness
  • Pain on the ball of your foot just under the bent toe

What are the treatments?

Once you are diagnosed we will discuss effective treatments with you; some reduce the pain and others, like surgery,
correct the position of the toe.
Treatments can reduce the pain and discomfort of hammer toe. They include:

  • Wearing shoes that are wide, fit well and do not have high heels.
  • Wearing hammer toe pads that fit around the top of the toe joint.
  • Applying ice packs to reduce swelling.
  • Over the counter pain relievers.
  • Custom shoe inserts can prevent the toe from getting worse.
  • Exercises can help to restore balance.
  • Cortisone injections.