A hammertoe is a deformity of the second, third or fourth toes. With this condition, the toe is bent at the middle joint, so that it resembles a hammer. Initially, hammertoes are flexible and can be corrected with simple measures but, if left untreated, they can become more rigid and require surgery.
Common symptoms of hammertoe include:
The most common cause of hammertoe is a muscle/tendon imbalance, which leads to a bending of the toe. This imbalance can result from mechanical (structural) changes in the foot that occur over time.
Hammertoes may be aggravated by shoes that don’t fit properly. A hammertoe may result if a toe is too long and is forced into a cramped position when a tight shoe is worn.
Occasionally, hammertoe is the result of an earlier trauma to the toe. With some patients, hammertoes are inherited.
There is a variety of treatment options for hammertoe. The treatment your Lakelands Orthopedics foot and ankle surgeon selects will depend upon the severity of your hammertoe and other factors.
Non-surgical measures can include:
In some cases, usually when the hammertoe has become more rigid and painful, or when an open sore has developed, surgery is required. In selecting the procedure or combination of procedures for your particular case, your specialist will take into consideration the extent of your deformity, the number of toes involved, your age, your activity level, and other factors. The length of the recovery period will vary, depending on the procedure or procedures performed.