A hammertoe is a very common and extremely painful deformity of the second, third, fourth, and/or fifth toe. A hammertoe gets its name from the abnormal downward bend in the middle joint, causing the toe to appear like a hammer.
Find out what a hammertoe is, what its most common symptoms are, and how Comprehensive Foot Specialists in Huntington, NY, diagnoses and treats hammertoes on a daily basis.
A hammertoe is a condition seen at the toe joint of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toe, causing it to bend, and therefore resemble a hammer. The abnormality can be described in the early stages as a flexible hammertoe, in which the joints are mobile, or in its more advanced stages, as a rigid hammertoe. When a rigid hammertoe is present, the joints have a limited range of motion. Some common symptoms of hammertoes include:
This deformity is often caused by an imbalance in foot mechanics, ill-fitting shoes, high heels, stroke, genetics, and other systemic conditions including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes. A diagnosis is made based on patient symptoms and plain film X-rays, which are used to demonstrate the degree of deformity.
Your doctor can diagnose a hammertoe with a thorough physical examination of the affected foot. The doctor will proceed to carefully move the affected foot and toe to further evaluate the condition. The doctor may also perform X-rays to further review the extent of the deformity in the bones and joints of the feet and toes. An X-ray can help determine if there is an underlying bone, muscle, or ligament injury causing the toe’s irregular position.
If the toes are still flexible at the time of the patient’s appointment, initial treatment may include proper fitting shoes, orthotics, and/or NSAIDs. Unfortunately, for flexible hammertoes and more advanced rigid hammertoes, the aforementioned therapy may only reduce symptoms and not cure the deformity. In these cases, surgery should be considered. Surgery for a hammertoe often includes removing a part of the toe-joint and realigning the tendons to straighten the digit, and sometimes, even fusion of the joint is considered. Often, temporary pins (removed in the office) are used to keep the bone in proper position along with a compressive dressing and surgical shoe.
At Comprehensive Foot Specialists in Huntington, NY, our podiatrists are passionate about diagnosing and treating a variety of foot conditions and ailments so our patients can live the most active and comfortable lives possible. We will examine your hammertoe and choose the best treatment path for you, working with you each step of the way. Please contact us today to learn more about the conditions we treat or to schedule an appointment with us.
At Comprehensive Foot Specialists, our expert physicians are dedicated to treating a wide variety of foot and ankle conditions so you can live comfortably, 24/7. Contact us today to learn more!Book an Appointment