Hammertoe is a deformity that can cause pain, swelling and restricted motion in affected toe joints.
Both noninvasive and surgical treatment options exist for correction of hammer toes. The podiatrists and surgeons of AFACC always work to conserve first and only suggest surgery when necessary.
To learn what hammertoe treatment options are best for you and your feet, find the AFACC podiatry clinic nearest you or fill out the appointment form to the right. For more information about hammertoe and its causes, symptoms & treatment options, read below.
What is a Hammer Toe & How is it Caused?
A hammer toe, also referred to as Hammertoe, is a contracture or bending of the toe at the first joint of the digit, called the proximal interphalangeal joint. This bending causes the toe to appear like an upside-down V when looked at from the side. Any toe can be involved, but the condition usually affects the second through fifth toes, known as the lesser digits. Hammertoes are more common to females than males.
A hammer toe is formed due to an abnormal balance of the muscles in the toes. This abnormal balance causes increased pressures on the tendons and joints of the toe, leading to its contracture. Other causes include:
- Wearing shoes that are too tight and cause the toes to squeeze
Symptoms of Hammer Toe
Hammer Toe symptoms include:
- Pain upon pressure at the top of the bent toe from footwear
- The formation of corns on the top of the affected joint
- Redness and swelling at the joint contracture
- Restricted or painful motion of the toe joint
- Pain in the ball of the foot at the base of the affected toe
Diagnosis & Treatment of Hammer Toes
Treatment of Hammer Toe deformities range from non-invasive,conservative options to surgical correction.
Conservative treatment can include wearing wider shoes and looser socks, as well as use of Vaseline and pads. Similar treatments can be suggested by your podiatric physician upon examination.
Surgery may be required in treating some cases of Hammer Toe deformity. Corrective surgeries may be suggested for lengthening the contracted tendons and joint capsule, or to remove a piece of the joint (knuckle) when prominent to allow room to straighten. Artificial joints and metal pins are sometimes used to help stabilize the toe during the healing period. If not sufficient enough to stabilize, then arthrodesis (a surgical immobilization of the joint to allow solid bone growth) may be suggested. The podiatrists and surgeons at AFACC always look to conservative treatment options first, and only suggest surgical correction when absolutely necessary.
Remember that foot pain is not normal. Healthy, pain-free feet are a key to your independence. At the first sign of pain, or any noticeable changes in your feet, seek professional podiatric medical care.
For more information about Hammer Toes or to have your feet assessed, contact us today to schedule an appointment at the AFACC clinic nearest you.