Hammertoe is a common type of foot deformity that causes your toe to curl downward rather than extend outward in a normal position. It can occur in any toe, but it’s most often found on the second or third toe.
Each of your toes has two joints, one where your toe joins your foot and another in the middle of your toe. Hammertoe occurs when the middle joint flexes in a downward position, which, in turn, curls the affected toe.
Numerous things can cause hammertoe, including:
Once hammertoe or mallet toe develops, the condition often causes significant pain and is an aesthetic concern.
A toe that is abnormally curved downward is the primary symptom of hammertoe or mallet toe. Additional signs and symptoms include:
A brief physical exam is usually all that’s needed to diagnose hammertoe or mallet toe. Dr. Cerniglia may order X-rays or other imaging to confirm the abnormalities.
There are several different ways to treat hammertoe and mallet toe. Your treatment path depends on the extent of your joint deformity. Some over-the-counter pads and cushions can offer a degree of relief.
Mild cases can sometimes be resolved by changing your footwear to provide your toes with more room. Certain foot exercises can also help by stretching or strengthening your toe muscles. There are also over-the-counter pads and cushions that can offer a degree of relief.
For many people, surgery is the only way to achieve lasting relief. Some procedures focus on lengthening the tendons that are pulling the joint out of alignment, while others transfer tendon tissue from the bottom of your foot to the top portion of the toe.
Joint fusion surgery is another approach that works by removing a small piece of bone before using a pin, wire, or plate to hold the bone tissue until the healing process is complete.
If you’d like more information on hammertoe treatment and the recovery process, call the office to set up a visit, or schedule using the easy online booking tool.