How to Reverse Hammertoes

What is Hammertoe Deformity?

Hammertoes are a common problem that doesn’t usually resolve on its own. What is hammer toe? It's a common deformity, in which the toe bends at one of it’s joints, most commonly at the middle joint, causing a hammer-like look. Eventually, the muscles and tendons tighten and contract, causing your toes to remain in that curled up shape. Fortunately, you can keep hammertoes from getting worse with medical support.


What Causes a Hammertoe Deformity?

Your toes are fairly adaptable, designed to provide stability across uneven terrain, but what causes hammertoe? This condition occurs because of weaknesses in your toe joints, in which the tissues, ligaments, tendons, and muscles are unable to work together properly. This typically happens because of poor choices in footwear; shoes that don’t fit properly, have a narrow toe box, or high heels can cause toes to become misshapen, as the result of being forced into an unnatural position. Some cases of hammertoe, however, are the result of arthritis, which can cause stiffness and inflexibility in the toe joint. Damage to the tendons and muscles resulting from trauma or injury, like stubbing your toe repeatedly, can also cause this deformity. While hammer toe is not always painful, it typically gets more uncomfortable as time goes by, and can eventually be debilitating.

Can You Treat Hammertoe Without Surgery?

Hammer toe treatment begins with non-surgical tactics, like wearing better-fitting or wider shoes, to give your toes more room when you are walking or running. Your doctor might recommend custom orthotics to provide the right balance of support and cushioning. However, hammertoe correction is not likely to be complete without more extreme measures, especially if the condition has progressed to a more severe stage.

Is Hammertoe Correction Invasive?

In order to completely fix hammer toe, you may need to undergo surgery. While there are minimally invasive measures available, surgery is the most effective way to improve the foot’s appearance, alleviate pain and discomfort, and restore the function of the toe joint. One common type of surgery for hammertoe correction is arthroplasty or fusion of one joint.  Other procedures may be needed depending on your specific condition – these may include release of the joint behind the toe (MPJ) or a tendon transfer, which involves moving the tendon that controls the toe joint to a different location.  Depending on many patient specific factors, you may be a candidate for a less invasive procedure which could be performed in the office.  . The treatment that’s right for you will depend on the severity of your condition, and the recommendation of your doctor.

Stop Hammertoes in Their Tracks

If your hammer toe is in the early stages, there are several steps you can take to stop the progression of this condition before it becomes painful and interferes with the function of your foot. Addressing the problem quickly is the best way to stop its progression, and your doctor can help you find the best ways to do this. First, you will need to ditch the footwear that is causing such distress to your toes. Take a break from tight shoes and high heels, and then try some further treatment options to help your feet and toes heal and become stronger. Potentially beneficial options include:

  • Taping or padding your toes to provide support.
  • Using custom orthotics and inserts to offer your feet balance and cushioning.
  • Engaging in physical therapy to help improve the function of your feet and toes.
  • Considering minimally invasive surgical options that can release severe hammertoes.

Hammertoe Correction from a Practice Known For Exceptional Care

Of course, the first step in finding relief from hammertoes is finding a doctor with the expertise and skill to provide you with the right options for improving your condition. If you are looking for experienced doctors who know how to fix hammer toe, along with a host of other issues of the foot and ankle, contact Southern Delaware Foot & Ankle. Established in 2000, we are committed to providing the highest quality of care for conditions affecting the lower extremity, in a compassionate, professional environment with a safe and comfortable atmosphere.  Our physicians have been trained to provide comprehensive medical and surgical treatment of the foot and ankle, and we have earned a reputation for providing expert quality care. Schedule an appointment by calling one of our four convenient locations: Seaford Shipley Street, 302-715-4194, Seaford Riverside, 302-629-6162, Millsboro Dupont Hwy, 302-934-7100, or Millsboro John J. Williams Hwy, 302-945-1221. You can also reach out to us through our website with any questions, and let Southern Delaware Foot & Ankle help you put your best foot forward. 


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