An abnormal bend in one or more of your toes may be a sign of a hammer toe, a common foot problem that worsens without proper treatment. Highly trained podiatrist Raymon Hanna, DPM, MD, AACFAS, treats hammer toes at Alpha Omega Foot and Ankle in Palm Harbor, Florida. If you think you have a hammer toe, don’t hesitate to call or book an appointment online today.
A hammer toe is a foot deformity that causes an abnormal bend (contracture) in the middle joint of your second, third, or fourth toes. When the bend occurs in the joint closest to your toenail, the condition is called a mallet toe.
At first, hammer toes are flexible and often improve with nonsurgical treatment. But if left untreated, hammer toes grow progressively worse and may become rigid. The only way to correct a hammer toe that’s no longer flexible is with surgery.
The most obvious symptom of a hammer toe or mallet toe is a bend in the toe. Other common hammer toe symptoms include:
Severe cases of hammer toe may cause open sores to develop where the toe rubs against your shoe.
An imbalance in the muscles and tendons of your foot is the most common cause of hammer toe. This imbalance leads to instability, which may cause your toe to bend. Wearing certain shoes, including high heels and shoes with a narrow toe box, may aggravate this condition.
Less common causes of hammer toe include previous foot injuries, like a stubbed or broken toe, and inherited differences in the structure of your foot.
To diagnose your hammer toe, Dr. Hanna thoroughly reviews your symptoms and medical history. He performs a physical exam of your foot, which may include X-rays to evaluate the structure of your foot.
Then, he develops an individualized treatment plan that’s best suited to your specific condition. Hammer toes that are still flexible may improve with simple treatments, including:
If your toe has become rigid, or if pain and symptoms persist despite treatment, Dr. Hanna may recommend surgery.
Hammer toes are easiest to treat in their early stages. If you suspect you have a hammer toe, call Alpha Omega Foot and Ankle or book an appointment online today.