In the early stage of hammertoes, you may be tempted to ignore the problem because you don’t notice much pain or stiffness. But if you wait too long, the condition worsens, leaving Joel Segalman, DPM, FACFAS, FACFAO, and Stephen Lazaroff, DPM, FACFAS, at Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLC, with limited treatment options. Though they always start hammertoe treatment with the most conservative therapy, the deformity can become so rigid that surgery is the only way to repair the problem. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Waterbury or Newtown, Connecticut, or book an appointment online today.
A hammertoe is a deformity that occurs when the top of the toe bends down at the middle joint, forming a hammer-like shape. This condition affects the second, third, fourth, and fifth toes.
Hammertoes typically develop when you wear tight shoes. The condition could also begin after an injury.
No matter what makes the toe curl, being forced to stay in that position creates an imbalance between the muscles and tendons that bend and straighten the joint. Before long, the tissues tighten in the bent position, making it hard to move the joint or straighten the toe.
Your bent toe is an obvious symptom. You could also experience redness and swelling at the joint and pain in your toe or foot. Corns or calluses frequently appear on top of the bent joint or on the tip of the toe. In severe cases, you won’t be able to wear your usual shoes.
When hammertoe first begins, the tendons and muscles are still flexible. If you seek treatment at this stage, Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLC, can treat the deformity with conservative options, including:
Without treatment, the tendons and muscles keep getting tighter. Eventually, the soft tissues become so rigid that you can’t straighten your toe or move the joint, even if you try to force movement. At this stage, surgery is the only remaining treatment option.
If you need surgery, your Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLC provider recommends one of several procedures, depending on the severity of the contracture.
If you still have a little tendon flexibility, they may release and lengthen the existing tendons, often transplanting a small piece of healthy tendon from elsewhere in the toe to the affected tissues.
If you have severely rigid tendons and muscles, your provider removes some of the bone, straightens the toe, and uses an implant to replace the joint or fuses the bones together.
Don’t wait to seek treatment for hammertoes. Call Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLC, or book an appointment online today.