Hammertoes

Foot and Ankle Wellness Center

Podiatric Medicine and Surgery located in Washington, DC & Clinton, MD

Hammertoes occur when there’s an imbalance between the muscles and tissues that help hold your toes straight. At Foot and Ankle Wellness Center, with offices in Washington, DC, and Clinton, Maryland, the team of expert podiatrists specializes in diagnosing and treating hammertoes. After an exam and discussing your symptoms, they can make custom treatment recommendations. Call the office nearest you today to schedule an appointment or book one online.

Hammertoes Q & A

What are hammertoes?

A hammertoe is a structural abnormality characterized by a permanent bend in your middle toe joint. Several factors contribute to hammertoes, including the type of shoes you wear and your foot structure. 

If you have an abnormal bend in one of your toes, seek treatment immediately. Diagnosis and intervention can ease uncomfortable symptoms, encourage mobility, and improve your quality of life. 

What are the symptoms of hammertoes?

Symptoms of hammertoes include:

  • A stiff or rigid toe joint
  • Corns and calluses on the top of your toe
  • Redness, inflammation, or a burning sensation
  • Swelling
  • Pain in the ball of your foot

You might also have difficulty wiggling your toe or lying flat as the condition worsens.

Can we prevent hammertoes?

There’s no way to prevent hammertoes entirely, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk. The Foot and Ankle Wellness Center team recommends wearing low-heeled shoes that are roomy and adjustable. In addition, avoid shoes that crowd or squeeze your toes together.

How are hammertoes diagnosed?

Your Foot and Ankle Wellness Center provider reviews your health charts and asks about your symptoms, including when you first noticed the bend in your toe and what it feels like. Next, they complete an exam. Your podiatrist examines your toe and toe joints for redness, swelling, or bruising. They gently press on your toe and carefully move it back and forth.

Your provider also orders a series of X-rays to assess the health of the bones and joints in your feet and toes.

How are hammertoes treated?

Treatment of hammertoes depends on the severity of your symptoms and their effect on your mobility. Usually, the Foot and Ankle Wellness Center team recommends conservative measures, such as wearing comfortable shoes that provide plenty of room for your toes. You might also benefit from exercises to stretch and strengthen your toe muscles. 

If your symptoms worsen or fail to improve, your provider might recommend surgery. During hammertoe surgery, your podiatrist uses special tools to release the tendon holding your toe in a bent position. They might also remove a piece of bone to help straighten your toe.

Call Foot and Ankle Wellness Center to request treatment for hammertoes today or book online.