Hammer Toes Specialist

Best Foot Forward -  - Podiatrist

Best Foot Forward

Podiatrists located in Festus, MO & St. Louis, MO

If you can’t straighten your toe or make it lay flat anymore, you could have a painful condition called hammertoe. Luckily, Franklin Harry, DPM, ABMSP, and Tim Davydov, DPM, ABPM, of Best Foot Forward in Festus and St. Louis, Missouri, offer hammertoe treatment to restore flexibility and remove the bend in your toe. Call Best Foot Forward today or schedule an appointment online to learn more about hammertoe and its treatment.

Hammer Toes Q&A

What is hammertoe?

Hammertoe deforms the second, third, or fourth toes, resulting in a bend at the middle joint. This bend makes the toe look a little like a hammer. It’s simple to correct hammertoe when treated soon after the deformity appears. But left untreated, hammertoe requires surgery to correct.

What causes hammertoe?

Many people experience hammertoe as a result of wearing shoes that don’t fit correctly. High heeled shoes with narrow toe areas force the toe end of your foot down, pushing the toes against the shoe, increasing both the pressure on the toes and the bend in the toe. Over time, the toe muscles lose the ability to straighten the toe.

Your muscles work in pairs to bend or straighten your toes. If your toe is bent in one position for too long, the joints and muscles become tight and can’t stretch to straighten the toe again.

Is hammertoe painful?

Yes. Hammertoe is especially painful when you wear shoes or move the toe. Other symptoms of hammertoe include:

  • Difficulty walking
  • Swelling around the bend in the toe
  • Inability to straighten the toe
  • Forming a callus or corn on the top of the toe joint or the tip of the toe

Hammertoe can cause the affected toes to be red, especially after you take your shoes off.

How is hammertoe treated?

Hammertoe treatments include nonsurgical and surgical methods, depending on how severe the condition is and how long you have had it.

Nonsurgical hammertoe treatments include changing your footwear from tight, narrow, high-heeled shoes to longer, wider shoes with lower or no heels. Another treatment is doing exercises that stretch and strengthen your foot muscles.

When the toe joint is no longer flexible, Best Foot Forward will recommend surgery. Available surgeries include:

Tendon lengthening

If your toe joint is flexible, lengthening the tendons improves the joint’s imbalance.

Tendon transfer

A tendon transfer takes tendons from the bottom of your toe and surgically implants them to the top. This helps straighten the toe.

Joint fusion

A joint fusion, called arthrodesis, is recommended to patients with a rigid toe joint. It combines tendon lengthening and removal of a small part of bone in the toe joint to allow the toe to extend fully. Pins or plates hold the bones in place until they fuse together.

You should expect recovery to take 4-6 weeks for hammertoe surgeries.

Call Best Foot Forward or schedule an appointment online if one or more of your toes has a bend at the joint. It’s easier to treat hammertoe in the early stages of development. But the experienced providers at Best Foot Forward can help even if you require surgery.