Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center
Podiatrists located in Laveen, AZ, Chandler, AZ & Mesa, AZ
Hammertoes Q & A
What is hammertoe?
Hammertoe occurs when one or both of the joints in your toes bend upward like a claw. This condition can affect all toes except the big toe, and it may occur in all four of these toes at once. There are two kinds of hammertoe, flexible and rigid.
In flexible hammertoe, your condition is still developing, so the joints can still move. In rigid hammertoe, the joints aren't flexible at all. Untreated flexible hammertoe is likely to become rigid hammertoe, so treating it earlier is always better.
What are the symptoms of hammertoe?
The main symptom of hammertoe is usually discomfort or pain whenever you're wearing shoes. Hammertoe commonly causes corns or calluses on the top of your toes, where the skin constantly rubs against your shoes.
In severe cases, some hammertoe sufferers develop open sores atop their toes, just above the affected joint.
What causes hammertoe?
Hammertoe is usually caused by imbalanced muscles or tendons in your feet. The imbalance causes excessive pressure on your toe joints and triggers it to bend. Other possible reasons for hammertoe can include foot trauma, genetics, and arthritis. Tight shoes can also trigger hammertoe.
What is the best treatment for hammertoe?
Hammertoe treatment at Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center is always customized for the situation. Dr. Durfey or Dr. Hiapo may recommend one of the following solutions for your hammertoe.
- Footwear change - relieves pressure on the toe joints
- Exercises - help stretch and strengthen your muscles and tendons
- Custom orthotics - improve foot function and help correct muscle and tendon imbalances
- Padding - reduces pain and minimize corns, calluses, and sores
- Taping - corrects muscle or tendon imbalance, and keeps your toes in the proper position
- Injections - corticosteroid or anti-inflammatory medication to relieve pain and swelling
Usually, flexible hammertoe is treatable with minimally invasive methods. If you have rigid hammertoe, if your hammertoe is causing sores, or if you have other foot problems like bunions at the same time, you may need surgery.
In hammertoe surgery, Dr. Durfey or Dr. Hiapo can release tendons, remove excess bone, and realign your toe as needed.
The Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center experts always use the most minimally invasive procedures to give you optimal results for hammertoe and other foot and ankle problems. Use online scheduling or call the office to book an appointment today.
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