One of the most common toe deformities seen by our office is a hammertoe. Most often attributed to wearing ill-fitting, tight footwear or high-heeled shoes that squish the toes into a bent position, a hammertoe can also be influenced by genetic factors, the result of a bunion, or caused by arthritis in the toe joint.
What a hammertoe looks like
Just as the name implies, a hammertoe resembles a “hammer” with the toe bending at the middle joint into a claw-like deformity. While hammertoes usually affect women, men can develop them as well.
Hammertoes can cause discomfort while walking and even when you simply try to move or stretch your toes. You may also develop corns or calluses on the top of the toe, and the ball of the foot and have difficulty fitting into your shoes. While in its early stages of development, the involved joint still feels flexible, if left untreated, your hammertoe will become more rigid and less responsive to conservative modes of care.
Our podiatrist will develop an appropriate plan to treat your hammertoe. When designing an approach to care, we’ll consider the severity of your toe deformity, level of toe flexibility, existing medical conditions, along with any other factors that may influence treatment. In the case of mild deformities or for individuals with complex medical histories, conservative treatment may be recommended. A non-surgical plan may include strategically placed foot padding, wearing shoes with a roomy toe box, custom orthotics, splinting, or taking anti-inflammatory medication as needed to reduce pain and inflammation. However, severe toe deformities and joint rigidity warrant surgery. And, a combination of procedures may be recommended when a hammertoe is accompanied by other foot deformities.
Corrective hammertoe surgery
The goals of surgery to correct hammertoes are to restore normal anatomy, comfort, and function. During a surgical procedure, the toe is straightened, and the joint between the involved bones stabilized. While healing, the newly realigned bones fuse, thereby permanently maintaining the toe in a straighter and healthier position.
As experts in foot anatomy, health, and function, we use the most advanced surgical techniques to achieve outstanding results of care. The success rate of hammertoe surgery is quite high, while the risk of complications is low. While hammertoe surgery is often performed as an outpatient procedure, we customize treatment and the delivery of care to address the unique requirements of each patient.
Sometimes hammertoes and a bunion go hand-in-hand. When that’s the case, both deformities can be addressed during one surgical procedure.
The best “steps” in care
Whether it’s the treatment of hammertoes, or any other issue affecting foot health and function, you can rely on our office for skilled and experienced care. We’re dedicated to the care and comfort of our patients and are always on hand to address all questions and concerns.
For more information on the treatment or surgical correction of hammertoes and the many other services we provide, give us a call today.