What are hammertoes?

Hammertoes are a foot deformity that causes your toe to start bending at the middle joint when you are standing. This can be due to trauma or inappropriate shoewear like high heels. Our Cypress orthopedist often sees patients who suffer from pain and difficulty walking due to this condition. When this problem occurs in the big toe, it may be associated with a bunion.

How hammertoes occur

A hammertoe is the result of a malfunction of the 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 into the sole of the shoe.

Hammertoes also result in prominence of the metatarsal head at the base of the toe, resulting in a feeling of “walking on a rock.” Our Cypress orthopedist often sees corns appear on the hammertoe or under the foot, which can be quite painful. Hammertoes can also be associated with other deformities, including bunions and bunionettes.

Treatment of hammertoes

Our Cypress orthopedist treats hammertoes in a number of ways, including using a metatarsal pad, recommending shoewear modifications like shoes with a wide toe box, taping and splinting (toe loop/Budin splint). Surgery may also be necessary to correct the deformity and relieve the symptoms.

Surgery shortens the bones and balances the tendons that cause the flexion deformity. Often, our Cypress orthopedist will remove and fuse the PIP joint (middle prominent joint). After removing the bone, she passes a wire through the toe to hold it straight during recovery. She may also redirect the malfunctioning tendons at the same time to help with the correction. While surgery corrects the deformity and removes the bony prominence, it can result in a stiff toe.

Contact us to schedule a consultation with our Cypress orthopedist and learn more about treatment for hammertoes.

Specializing in

  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Bone fractures
  • Hammertoes
  • Bunions
  • Sprains
  • Heel pain
  • Bursitis
  • Tendonitis
  • Neuromas
  • Congenital problems
  • Corns and calluses
  • Plantar warts