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What is a Hammertoe?

What is a Hammertoe?
Hammertoes is a contraction of the toes because of a muscle imbalance between the tendons on the top and bottom of the toe. Hammertoes can be flexible or rigid, but if they are rigid, the patient finds it impossible to straighten the toe out. Corns frequently develop from rubbing on the person’s shoe. Hammertoes may also cause a callus to form on the ball of the foot. Hammertoes tend to get worse with time and often flexible deformities will become rigid.

How Do You Treat Hammertoes?
Your podiatrist may recommend preventative treatments which work to alleviate the cause of the deformity. A functional orthotic is a special insert that addresses the abnormal functioning that causes the Hammertoe. Orthotics slow down or halt the gradual changes in the foot. Often when orthotics are used, the toes gradually straighten out and correct themselves. Calf stretching can also help overcome part of the muscle imbalance that causes Hammertoe.

Your foot doctor may also prescribe symptomatic treatments to assist with painful conditions caused by Hammertoes. Some of these treatments include open toed shoes or Hammertoe pads. Over the counter corn removers may also help reduce a painful callus. Please use these medications with caution. They are mild acids designed to burn off the callus. Never use these medications between the toes and do not use these products if you have diabetes or bad circulation.

Surgical procedures may also be recommended to cure Hammertoes. A simple tendon release works well for a Flexible Hammertoe. The recovery for this type of procedure is rapid, normally requiring only a stitch and a Band-aid. Surgical corrections for Rigid Hammertoes consist of removing damaged skin from corns. Then a small section of bone is removed. After the surgery, the sutures remain in place for about ten days. It is important to keep the area dry for this period of time. After the sutures are removed, a stiff-soled walking shoe will be used for around two weeks. In severe cases, a pin may be inserted to hold the toe in place, or the surgeon may fuse the bones in the toe. Several weeks of recovery follow surgeries that require these measures. The toe will have a floppy feeling for several weeks following the procedure. This floppiness is generally not permanent.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, request an appointment with us.

Metroplex Foot and Ankle is a progressive group of physicians and surgeons who are committed to helping our patients to achieve their full wellness potential. Contact our Dallas Podiatrist, Garland Podiatrist, or Richardson Podiatrist offices to schedule an appointment today.

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