Hammertoe

MB Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Specialists

Podiatry & Foot and Ankle Surgeons located in Glendale, CA & Palmdale, CA

Hammertoes are common foot deformities that affect more than 200,000 men and women in the United States each year. If your hammertoe is uncomfortable or unattractive to you, visit the team at MB Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Specialists. With locations in Glendale and Palmdale, California, the team offers convenient and flexible scheduling so you can get the care you need quickly. To schedule an appointment, call the office or request one online today.

Hammertoe Q & A

What is a hammertoe?

Hammertoes are toes with an unusual bend in the middle joint. The tip of the toe points downward while the middle joint is angled upward. This causes increased pressure and irritation on the tip of the toe and the affected joint.

Continuous rubbing of these areas on your shoes can be uncomfortable and may lead to the formation of calluses or corns. Hammertoes may make it difficult to find shoes that fit comfortably, too.

What causes hammertoe?

While there isn’t a specific cause of hammertoes, a variety of factors contribute to their formation. Possible contributors include:

  • Wearing shoes that are too small or have a short toe box
  • Running or other sports that force your toes forward against the front edge of your shoe
  • Wearing high heels
  • Tight muscles in the feet and calves

Some cases of hammertoes have a genetic component, and you may have a parent or relative with hammertoes.

How do podiatrists treat hammertoes?

There are two types of hammertoes: flexible and rigid. Flexible hammertoes can be straightened by applying gentle pressure with your hands, while rigid hammertoes can’t be straightened. 

Depending on which type you have, the team determines which treatment options are best for you.

In most cases, conservative care is enough to straighten your toes or sufficiently reduce the bend so you can wear shoes comfortably. 

Conservative therapies include bracing or taping, wearing toe separators or other medical devices to stretch and straighten your toes when you sleep, and exercises and stretches to address any muscle imbalances in your feet and legs that are contributing to your hammertoes.

The team also treats any calluses, corns, or sores that have developed due to your hammertoes. It’s best to avoid filing or applying over-the-counter corn remover pads, which can increase your risk of infection. The team gently treats these symptoms so you can feel more comfortable and enjoy attractive feet again.

Do I need surgery for my hammertoe?

In rare cases, surgery is needed to correct rigid hammertoes. There are a number of approaches to hammertoe surgery, and the team determines which approach is best based on your symptoms and X-rays.

To seek treatment for a hammertoe, call MB Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Specialists or request an appointment online today.