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Hammertoe Specialist

South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers

Podiatrists & Foot and Ankle Surgeons located in Royal Palm Beach, FL & Lake Worth, FL

Hammertoe is a foot deformity causing sharp toe bending from the middle joint. This frustrating toe problem can affect anyone but is especially common in women who regularly wear high heels. The podiatric specialists at South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers know how uncomfortable and aggravating hammertoe can be, so they’re here to help. They provide personalized treatment plans to straighten the toe and stop the pain. There are offices in Royal Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Palm Beach Gardens, and Belle Glade, Florida; call the nearest one or book an appointment online today.

Hammertoe Q & A

What is a hammertoe?

Hammertoe is a joint deformity that causes your toe to bend abnormally. The two types of hammertoe are:

Flexible hammertoe 

You can flatten a flexible hammertoe with pressure, for example, if you push down on the affected joint.

Rigid hammertoe

Rigid hammertoe means the affected toe won't move, even if you push hard, because the joint is fused into the bent position.

If you seek hammertoe treatment quickly, during the flexible phase, you have more treatment options and can prevent rigid hammertoe later.

What does a hammertoe look like?

Hammertoe causes middle toe joint bending, which makes the middle of the toe move up while the end of the toe bends down. Some people say it looks like a hammer (thus the name), while others say it looks more like an upside-down letter "V.” 

You can have hammertoe in any toe, but it's most common in your first small toe (the one next to your big toe). 

Because of continued pressure from the top of your shoe, it's quite common to develop a corn or callus on top of the affected toe. 

What causes hammertoe?

Hammertoe occurs because of muscle imbalance around your toe joint. This triggers changes in your tendons and ligaments, which then causes your joint to contract. 

Several things can lead to abnormal muscle, tendon, and ligament balance in the toes, including arthritis, diabetes, foot trauma, and inherited foot type. Wearing tight shoes that force your toes together, for example, high heels can cause hammertoe. 

What is hammertoe treatment like?

With flexible hammertoe, your South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers doctor may prescribe:

  • Custom orthotics
  • Shoe padding
  • Changing your shoes
  • Toe exercises

Usually, these conservative treatments can ease your discomfort and gradually restore proper balance to straighten your toe. If you have a rigid hammertoe, your doctor may recommend surgery to release the tendon and restore proper joint alignment. 

Following your recovery, your South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers doctor can help with prevention techniques. They may recommend avoiding high heels, wearing shoes with lots of toe space, or other measures to help you avoid recurrence.

You don't have to live with hammertoe. South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers can quickly relieve your pain and help you avoid lasting frustration. Call the office nearest you or schedule an appointment online today.