Hammer Toe

Alpha Omega Foot and Ankle

Raymon Hanna, DPM

Podiatrist & Foot & Ankle Surgeon located in Palm Harbor, FL

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.

Hammer Toe Q & A

What is a hammer toe?

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.

What are symptoms of hammer toe?

The most obvious symptom of a hammer toe or mallet toe is a bend in the toe. Other common hammer toe symptoms include:

  • Pain in the affected toe that worsens when wearing shoes
  • Corns and calluses on or in between the toes
  • Redness and swelling

Severe cases of hammer toe may cause open sores to develop where the toe rubs against your shoe.

What causes hammer toe?

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.

How is hammer toe diagnosed and treated?

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:

  • Wearing comfortable shoes that have a roomy toe box and heels lower than two inches
  • Wearing custom orthotic devices to control the muscle and tendon imbalance
  • Oral or injectable anti-inflammatory medications
  • Splinting or strapping the affected toe

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.