Hammertoe: Symptoms, Causes, and TreatmentAt JAWS podiatry, we see and treat a wide range of foot and ankle problems. But few issues are as painful, frustrating and debilitating as hammertoe. Fortunately, hammertoe is almost always treatable. It can often be addressed by changing footwear, using protective padding, and reducing calluses. Sometimes, however, surgery may be the most advisable and practical treatment option for severe cases.

What is Hammertoe?

Hammertoes and related deformities are unsightly contractures of the joints of the lesser toes (all toes except the big toe). The second toe is the most frequently affected. Hammertoe causes the affected toes to bend or curl downward instead of facing straight ahead as they should.

That downward curl is perhaps the most apparent symptom of hammertoe, along with corns or calluses, difficulty walking, or being unable to flex your foot or wiggle your toes.

Hammertoe comes in two distinct types:

  • Flexible hammertoes. These are toes which are in the developmental stage of hammertoe and can still be moved at the joint.
  • Rigid hammertoes. These are a more severe problem, as the tendons have tightened to such an extreme degree that the joints become misaligned and immobile.

What Causes Hammertoe?

Hammertoe is usually caused by muscle and ligament imbalance that may have been present at birth or developed over time. Hammertoe can also develop due to trauma, arthritis, wearing poorly fitting shoes, or a bunion on the big toe which pushes it into the lesser toes. Hammertoes typically worsen over time, as they put ever-increasing amounts of pressure on the tendons and joints. Excessive hammertoe contractures also cause severe pressure on the plantar aspect of the ball of the foot, causing additional complications and pain.

Hammertoe Treatment Options

As noted, conservative and non-invasive treatments are often effective options for hammertoe. But if your foot is severely deformed, or when alternative therapies don’t work and pain and discomfort disrupt normal life, outpatient hammertoe surgery may be the best way forward.

Hammertoe surgery may involve the surgeon removing part of the bone in the toe and aligning the toe joint. Other surgical techniques include releasing a tendon that is too short, transferring a tendon to another location, or inserting a steel pin into the impacted area.

Hammertoe Problems? Call the Hollywood, Florida Foot and Ankle Specialists at JAWS podiatry Today

If you are dealing with the pain, discomfort, and challenges of hammertoe, the foot and ankle specialists at JAWS podiatry in Hollywood can help. We know that no one wants to undergo surgery, so we explore all possible alternatives to see if a non-surgical solution can effectively address your problem. If we do recommend hammertoe surgery, our experienced podiatrist and talented staff will perform your procedure with the utmost care and precision.

Please call us today at (954) 922-7333 or contact us online to schedule a consultation about your hammertoe issues.