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Diplomate, American Board of Podiatric Surgery

Diplomate, American Board of Podiatric Surgery

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What are some possible symptoms of hammertoe?

Possible symptoms of a Hammertoe:

  • Pain in the on the top of the toe when pressure is applied while walking, or from footwear
  • Corns or calluses formed on the top of the middle joint of the toe, or on the tip of the toe
  • Tightness and/or restriction of movement of the toe
  • Redness and/or inflammation of the toe

What is a Hammer Toe?

Hammer toes are commonly caused by painful bunions, flatfeet, heredity factors along with tight or narrow fitting shoes. A good functioning toes is necessary in daily activities and vital in  walking or running. There are at least six sets of small muscles that are in the arch of your foot  that controls each toe. If there is an imbalance in the foot, that’s why custom made arch supports can be a first line treatment because these smaller muscles can be overpowered by larger lower leg muscles causing hammer toe development over time is deforms the middle joint in the toe. They can become severe with pressure from shoes causing corn’s on top of the toes.

Can my hammer toe be fixed?

Treatments for hammer toes depends on the degree of deformity. At the beginning we can use an custom made orthotic which supports the arch where the small muscle are at that cause hammer toes.In early stages of a hammer toe  a minor in office tendon release to straighten the hammer toe.Without early treatment the soft tissues and muscles become tighter and the hammer toe becomes rigid at the middle joint which then causes a corn on top of the toe. If that occurs more involved surgery is required.I don’t recommend using OTC treatments for corns which contain acid it can cause redness and possible infection especially in patients that have diabetes or vascular disease

A minor surgical procedure can be done either in the office or outpatient. An incision is made on top of the toe and a small cut in the bone is done to straighten the toe.The toe heals over the first 2 to 4 weeks like a broken toe,you must keep the toe wrapped to allow the bone to heal.Another procedure is performed but we use an absorbable pin to keep it straight. Rarely is a removable metal pin necessary to hold the toe straight.

There is a newer advanced treatment using minimally invasive surgery this done with a small incision on top of the toe which is performed in the office. This significantly reduces cost because there is no hospital cost. The treatment is exactly the  same with the exception the patient isn’t sedated.We use a real time x-ray to see the bone correct. A combination of a tendon and bone procedure can give the patient a excellent result.

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