Hammertoe is easy to treat in its early stages, but advanced cases may require surgery.
The providers at Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Center (OFAC) in Falls Church and Arlington, Virginia, located near Washington, DC, treat all stages of hammertoe and similar conditions, like claw toe and mallet toe. If you notice an abnormal bend in one or more of your toes, call or request an appointment online today.
Hammertoe Q & A
What is hammertoe? Back to top
Hammertoe is a common foot deformity that involves an abnormal bend in the middle joint of your second, third, or fourth toe. This bend causes your toe to resemble a hammer.
At first, hammertoes are flexible and easy to treat with non-surgical methods. If left untreated, your toe may become stuck in that position. The only way to correct a rigid hammertoe is with surgery.
Hammertoe is similar to other foot deformities, including:
Like hammertoe, mallet toe usually occurs in your second, third, or fourth toes. However, mallet toe causes a bend in the joint nearest your toenail, whereas hammertoe affects the middle joint.
Claw toe typically affects the four smaller toes at the same time. Your toes bend up at the joint closest to your foot and down at the middle joints and the joints closest to your toes. This causes the toes to curl like claws.
What causes hammertoe? Back to top
Wearing shoes that are too tight or narrow-toed shoes are the most common causes of hammertoe, mallet toe, and claw toe. If your shoes force your toes into a bent position and they stay that way for too long, your tendons may shorten and prevent the toe from straightening.
Other common causes of hammertoe, mallet toe, and claw toe include injuries, like a broken toe, or an imbalance in your toe muscles.
How is hammertoe diagnosed and treated? Back to top
Your provider at Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Center diagnoses hammertoe, mallet toe, or claw toe by examining your foot. They may also order X-rays to evaluate the skeletal structure of your toes.
Then, they develop an individualized treatment plan tailored to your specific condition. If your toe is still flexible, your provider may recommend non-surgical treatments, including:
- Changing to shoes with a larger toe box
- Wearing custom orthotics
- Physical therapy
The only way to fix a rigid hammertoe is with surgery. The team at Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Center performs minimally invasive procedures to correct hammertoe and similar deformities.
If you notice your toes bent in an unusual way, don’t wait to get treatment; call Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Center or request an appointment online today.