What causes a hammertoe?
A Hammertoe develops because of an imbalance in the mechanics of the toe muscles, which leads to increased stresses on the tendons and on the middle joints of the toe, producing the bend in the toe which can be flexible or rigid. If the toe is rigid a painful corn develops on the top of the toes from rubbing the shoes. Tight shoes or high heels may contribute to excess pressure on a hammertoe and the results in pain. Hammertoes can be hereditary but the true cause is abnormal foot and ankle function. This first starts with bunion development over time, the big toe moves toward the second causing that toe to do move work as it does that the toe becomes bend, the bend can be flexible or rigid. Also Hammertoes can be cause by the second toe being longer than the first toe.
What are the Treatment’s Hammer toes?
Treatments for hammer toes depends on the pain and severity. When it first starts, we can use an orthotic which is a form of a custom shoe insert. In early stages of a hammer toe a minor in office tendon release can give an excellent result. If treatment isn’t started early the soft tissues and muscles become tighter and the deformity becomes rigid at the middle joint which then causes a painful corn on top of the toe. If that occurs more involved surgery is required. The surgery involves straightening the crooked bone.
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 piece of bone is removed to straighten the toe. If the toe is rigid and doesn’t bend, then the same 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.The healing is similar to a broken toe, so you keep the toes wrapped together for 2 to 4 weeks.
There is a newer advanced treatment using minimally invasive surgery, this is performed in the office. This significantly reduces cost because there is no hospital cost. The treatment is 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, time off work is reduced to a few days unless your on your feet all the time then it may require a few weeks off.
If you think you may have a hammertoe, contact us to set up an appointment with Dr. Bembynista, who will evaluate your toe and make a recommendation for treatment, if necessary. We have offices in Overland Park and Kansas City.
- American Podiatric Medical Association:
- Mayo Clinic: