Stacy A. Bacon, MD - Orthopaedic Surgeon
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Hammertoes

HammertoesA Hammertoe occurs when standing if your toe stays bent at the middle joint.  It results in a deformity of the toe.  When it occurs in the big toe it may be associated with a bunion.  Hammertoes may be the result of trauma or inappropriate shoewear (i.e. high heels)

A Hammertoe is the result of a malfunction of tendons that control the bending and straightening of a toe. This malfunction results in a flexion deformity, which means the joint bends abnormally. The toe remains bent, forcing the tip of the toe and toenail in the  sole of the shoe. It also results in prominence of the metatarsal head at the base of the toe resulting in a feeling of "walking on a rock." Corns may result on the toe or under the foot and these can be quite painful. May be associated with other deformities (ie, bunions, bunionetes)

Treatment

Metatarsal pad, shoe-wear modification (wide toe box shoe), taping, splinting (ie, toe loop/Budin splint). Surgery is commonly necessary to correct the deformity and relieve the symptoms.

Surgery

Shortens the bones and balances the tendons that cause the flexion deformity. Commonly the PIP joint (middle prominent joint) is removed and fused. After the bone is removed, a wire is commonly passed through the toe to hold it straight during recovery. The malfunctioning tendons may be redirected at the same time to help with the correction.  Surgery corrects the deformity and removes the bony prominence; however, it results in a stiff toe.

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Stacy A. Bacon, MD - Orthopaedic Surgeon Advanced Orthopaedics Sports Medicine