Coastal Maine Foot and Ankle
Podiatry, Foot & Ankle Surgeon and Wound Care Specialist located in Yarmouth, ME
Hammertoe can go from a minor inconvenience to a serious foot deformity without treatment. Fortunately, Coastal Maine Foot and Ankle, in Yarmouth, Maine, offers early intervention treatments to prevent flexible hammertoe from progressing. Experienced podiatrist Barry White, DPM, offers skilled care for all types of hammertoe, including surgical correction of hammertoe deformity. Book your appointment online or call the office to schedule a consultation with Dr. White.
What is hammertoe?
Hammertoe refers to a joint that pops upwards in the middle of the toe. This joint stays in a bent position, which causes the end of the toe to angle down sharply. The toe then makes a tent shape, which some people also liken to a hammer.
Usually, hammertoe happens in your second, third, or fourth toes. Less commonly, it may appear in the little toe.
When hammertoe first occurs, you have flexible hammertoe, as you can still manipulate your joint to return it to the proper position. But, eventually, if you don’t treat a hammertoe it can turn into a rigid hammertoe — a joint that’s frozen in an abnormal position.
What causes hammertoe?
Hammertoe can develop with muscle, tendon, and ligament balance changes in your toe. The underlying cause of this imbalance can include inherited foot type, trauma to the foot, and arthritis. One controllable factor that may cause hammertoes is overly tight shoes.
What symptoms does hammertoe cause?
Hammertoe causes a significant physical change in your foot, along with smaller changes in the affected joint such as:
- Discomfort or pain, especially when wearing shoes
- Corns on top of the joint
Because hammertoe can force you to walk differently, you could also develop calluses and pain in the ball of your foot, under the hammertoe.
How is hammertoe treated?
Dr. White performs a gentle exam of your toes and feet to determine the severity of your hammertoe. You may need X-ray imaging to look for problems within your foot’s bony framework.
If you have a flexible hammertoe, Dr. White generally recommends conservative care including options such as padding, taping, and custom orthotics. These options can correct your joint position and end your hammertoe discomfort.
If your hammertoe doesn’t respond to conservative treatment, or if you have a rigid hammertoe, Dr. White may recommend surgery.
With surgery, Dr. White can remove the excess bone around your joint and reposition the toe using a method like joint fusion. This surgery prevents the toe from bending in the middle, so you don’t have to worry about recurrence.
Another surgical option is internal hardware that keeps your joint properly positioned. Dr. White can explain the treatment option that works for your situation the best.
Call Coastal Maine Foot and Ankle or click on the online booking tool for hammertoe treatment.