Hammer Toe

While not particularly dangerous, hammertoes can still make life fairly miserable. If you’re dealing with hammertoes that are causing you pain or placing limitations on your life, the foot specialists at Virginia Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates can help.  Joseph R. Disabato, DPM, helps his patients in Charlottesville, Virginia, put an end to uncomfortable and unsightly hammertoes. Call or schedule an appointment today.

Hammer Toe Q & A

What are hammertoes?

Hammertoes are an aptly named condition in which the joints in your toe contract, creating a hammer-like shape to your toe. Hammertoe can affect all of your toes except your big toe, and it can develop in one or both joints in your toes.

In its early stages, the hammertoe begins to pull your toe upward at one or both joints, but you’re still able to flex your toe manually. In its more advanced stages, hammertoe can cause a permanent deformity in your toe that no amount of manipulation can correct. Hammertoes can also cause painful corns and calluses on the tops of your toes at any stage.

What causes hammertoes?

Medically speaking, a hammertoe is caused by an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that keep your toe straight. What leads to this imbalance is typically:

  • High-heeled shoes
  • Pointy shoes
  • Longer second toes
  • Pre-existing medical conditions, such as arthritis or diabetes
  • Trauma to your toe

Age also plays a role: The older you are, the more susceptible you are to hammertoe, especially if you’ve subjected your feet to years of pointy, high-heeled shoes.

How are hammertoes treated?

Because of their distinct characteristics, hammertoes are fairly easy for the doctors at Virginia Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates to diagnose. If you catch your hammertoe early enough, the doctors typically recommend more conservative measures, such as:

  • More appropriate shoes (lower heels and roomier toe boxes)
  • Orthotics
  • Exercises for your toe to rebalance the connective tissue

If your hammertoe doesn’t respond to these treatments and continues to progress, your doctor may recommend a quick surgery to release the tendon. The surgery is minimally invasive and the doctors perform it on an outpatient basis, which means you’re free to return home afterward.

You will have to take it easy on your toe after your surgery, and your doctor may recommend a surgical shoe for the first few days to allow time for your toe to heal properly.

If you’d like to get rid of unsightly and uncomfortable hammertoes, call Virginia Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates or use the online scheduling tool to set up an appointment.

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