Tussey Mountain Foot & Ankle Specialists
Foot and Ankle Surgery & Podiatric Medicine located in State College, PA
Hammertoes Q & A
What are hammertoes?
Hammertoes are toes that remain curled, even while at rest, because of imbalances in the supportive muscles and ligaments. Such imbalances cause the joint in the middle of the toe to buckle and stay that way without intervention. The middle three toes are the most likely to develop hammertoe, which can happen to one or several of your toes.
Tussey Mountain Foot & Ankle Specialists treats the two main hammertoe types:
Flexible hammertoes stay in their curled position at their joints, but you can still move the joints. This is the milder form of hammertoe and is typically easier to treat.
Rigid hammertoes are hammertoes that you can’t move at the joint. The tendons are rigid, and you need surgery to restore function to the toe joint.
Hammertoes don’t always cause symptoms beyond reshaping the toe, but they can lead to discomfort, swelling, and restricted motion.
What causes hammertoes?
Hammertoes are common, and several pre-existing problems can put you at risk. For example, you’re more likely to get hammertoes if you have naturally long toe bones, high arches, flat feet, or any genetic conditions that make your feet less stable.
Conditions and habits that can lead to hammertoes include:
- Pointed or tight-fitting shoes
- Charcot-Tooth-Marie disease, which involves nerve damage
At Tussey Mountain Foot & Ankle Specialists, the podiatric team can diagnose hammertoes by examining your feet and asking a series of simple questions. If they need to evaluate the severity of your hammertoe or your overall foot health, they might also recommend X-rays.
What is the treatment for hammertoes?
In most cases, individuals with one or more hammertoes can find relief from symptoms like toe joint pain and stiffness with conservative care. If you have flexible hammertoes, your providers at Tussey Mountain Foot & Ankle Specialists can manage your condition with special exercises, custom orthotics, splinting and taping techniques, and home care.
Rigid hammertoes often require surgery, as do many cases of hammertoe that don’t respond to noninvasive treatment. Multiple surgical techniques can restore balance to the toe’s soft tissues, so your providers at Tussey Mountain Foot & Ankle Specialists determine the best option after reviewing X-ray images of the anatomy of your toe.
Learn more about hammertoes and explore treatments for the condition by calling Tussey Mountain Foot & Ankle Specialists or booking an appointment online today.
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