Wearing high heels or other unsupportive shoes increases your risk of hammertoes and other painful foot abnormalities. At Foot and Ankle Center, LLC, in Marrero, Louisiana, board-certified podiatrists and foot and ankle surgeons, Catherine Hudson, DPM, Denise Elliott, DPM, and the team offer various treatments for hammertoes, including orthotics, physical therapy, and surgery. Call Foot and Ankle Center, LLC, today to request a hammertoe consultation or book your appointment online.

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What are hammertoes?

Hammertoes cause one of your middle toe joints to stay bent in a downward position. They happen when the muscles in your foot or ankle become weak, causing an imbalance in the tendons that hold your toes straight.

Often, hammertoes cause other foot-related issues, like corns, calluses, and blisters. Without treatment, your joint may even become locked in a hammerhead-like position.

What are the symptoms of hammertoes?

Hammertoe symptoms include:

  • Swelling in your affected toe joint
  • Redness, inflammation, or a burning sensation
  • Pain in the ball of your foot
  • A rigid joint in your toe
  • Restricted or painful joint motion

As the hammertoe worsens, an open wound may form on top of your affected toe.

Do hammertoes require medical care?

Make an appointment with the Foot and Ankle Center, LLC, team if you have symptoms of a hammertoe that last for more than a few days and don’t improve with at-home treatments, like ice, rest, or wearing roomier shoes. That’s particularly true if your toe joint is painful or locked in a bent position.

How are hammertoes diagnosed?

Your Foot and Ankle Center, LLC, provider reviews your medical records, asks about your symptoms, and examines your feet and toes. They look at your affected toe for redness, bruising, or swelling and check its flexibility and range of motion.

Your podiatrist orders X-rays to get a closer look at your toe joints. If you have diabetes, they order additional tests to screen for neurological issues that might cause a tendon imbalance.

How are hammertoes treated?

The Foot and Ankle Center, LLC, team treats hammertoes using a conservative and minimally invasive approach when possible. They may suggest:

  • Padding the hammertoe to reduce pressure
  • Taping your toes
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medication
  • Corticosteroid shots
  • Custom orthotics

If your pain is severe or interferes with your daily activities, your podiatrist may recommend surgery. During hammertoe surgery, your provider straightens your toe, realigns your joint, and inserts a steel pin to improve your toe’s position.

Is there any way to prevent hammertoes?

There are several things you can do to reduce your risk of hammertoes. The Foot and Ankle Center, LLC, team recommends wearing shoes with a wide toe box, doing foot exercises to keep your toe muscles strong, and regularly inspect your feet for corns and calluses.

Call Foot and Ankle Center, LLC, today to explore the treatments for hammertoes, or book your appointment online.