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Hammer Toe

Learn Why Hammer Toe Occurs and How It Can Be Corrected

Hammer toe is a condition that develops when the muscles or ligaments around the toe become unbalanced, causing the toe to curl downward at the middle joint like a claw. Besides having an undesirable appearance, this condition can cause considerable pain, which means that corrective hammer toe treatments such as surgery are often necessary. At miVIP Surgery Centers, our foot surgeons perform a number of procedures to help victims of hammer toe.

People who are afflicted with hammer toe can benefit from looking into hammer toe treatments sooner rather than later, even if it turns out that surgery is not necessary. Early on, a hammer toe can still be bent at the joint, but over time, many hammer toes become rigid, which makes correction a more difficult process.

What Causes Hammer Toe?

Hammer toe has various causes, and while some are preventable, others are not. Typical causes include:

  • Footwear that fits poorly
  • Genetics
  • Joint problems such as arthritis
  • Nerve disorders
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Injury or trauma to the affected toe

One of the most common and easily preventable causes of hammer toe is wearing shoes that are cramped or have high heels. This is why women and children tend to have the highest incidence of hammer toe. However, many people who choose shoes that fit properly may still develop the condition.

Signs and Symptoms

A hammer toe is a toe that curls down at the middle joint. The toe may still maintain some flexibility or it may be too stiff to bend back to its regular position. This deformity is the most obvious sign of hammer toe, but other accompanying symptoms include:

  • Corns or blisters on top of the toe
  • A callus on the sole of the foot
  • Difficulty walking
  • Persistent pain

Options for Treatment

There are various hammer toe treatments that may relieve pain, prevent the condition from worsening, or completely correct the condition:

  • Changing shoes. Shoes that are more spacious or take pressure off the front of the foot will not force the toe into a curled position.
  • Using pads or insoles. Insoles reduce pressure on the toes, while padding helps protect the affected toe.
  • Doing toe exercises. Gentle stretching and strength-building exercises can be helpful if the toe joint still has some flexibility.
  • Having hammer toe surgery. When the above methods are not effective or when the toe has become rigid, foot surgeons can release the tight tendons or remove part of the toe bone to allow the toe to straighten.

At miVIP, our foot surgeons help patients understand all of these hammer toe treatments and determine whether minimally invasive surgery is the best means of correcting the condition.

Long-Term Prognosis of Hammer Toe

Even after surgical correction, hammer toe can return if the victim does not make lifestyle changes. After determining the best course of treatment, miVIP's foot surgeons will recommend changes that you can make to prevent hammer toe from occurring again. From wearing shoes with a wider toe box to performing stretches and exercises, there are numerous measures that can help you lower the likelihood of experiencing the same affliction in the future.

Call the Podiatry Specialists at miVIP Today

If you’re tired of living with the pain of hammer toe or if you need more information about hammer toe treatments such as surgery, don’t hesitate to call miVIP today at 877-956-2263 to find out how our foot surgeons can correct this condition and help you return to your normal lifestyle.

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