Hammertoe is an affliction that causes one of your middle toes to bend abnormally. At Family Foot & Ankle Center in Upland, California, the noteworthy foot care experts offer hammertoe treatment, including conservative and surgical approaches. If untreated, hammertoe can lead to pain, even sores, and open wounds on top of the toe. Get help right away. Book your appointment online or call the office today.

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What is hammertoe?

If the middle joint in one of your toes bends when it shouldn’t, you likely have hammertoe. It usually affects the second, third, or fourth toes. The two stages of hammertoe are:

Flexible hammertoe

Flexible hammertoe means you can make your toe lie flat, but it quickly bends again.

Rigid hammertoe

Rigid hammertoe means your joint is frozen, and you can’t straighten it.

Hammertoe is flexible at first, but it can become rigid if you don’t undergo treatment.

What problems does hammertoe cause?

Hammertoe can cause a few problems, including:

Corns and calluses

With hammertoe, the bent part of your toe rubs against the top of your shoes, which can cause a painful callus or corn. Hammertoe causes the tip of your toe to point down instead of out. This causes extra pressure and can lead to corns or calluses on the end of your toes.

Because of repeated irritation or pressure, a corn or callus can crack open, causing an infection or chronic wound.

Balance and walking changes

Normally, you use all five toes for stability when you stand and walk. But with hammertoe, you lose some of that stability. This can cause balance and walking problems, possibly leading to falls and other injuries.

Appearance changes

Hammertoe dramatically changes how your feet look, and many people find it embarrassing. You might feel you must hide your feet, never wear sandals, and never go barefoot.

How do you fix a hammertoe?

The Family Foot & Ankle Center team will initially recommend nonsurgical treatments for flexible hammertoe, including:

  • Wearing roomier shoes with lots of space for your toes
  • Crest pads, which slide under a hammertoe to support it
  • Splint, which fits around your hammertoe and prevents bending
  • Corn or callus pads for the top of the hammertoe
  • Strengthening exercises, like picking up small objects using your toes
  • Custom-fitted shoe inserts (orthotics) to correct the toe’s position

These treatments can help ease discomfort and stop a flexible hammertoe from becoming a rigid hammertoe.

Once the toe becomes rigid, you might need surgery to fix the hammertoe. Surgery cuts the tendon that’s causing the hammertoe. A rigid hammertoe often has bony growth over the joint, so surgery also removes that extra bone.

Hammertoe doesn’t have to be permanent. Call Family Foot & Ankle Center or book your appointment online for help.