What are Hammertoes?
By Southern Maine Foot & Ankle, PA
July 17, 2019
Category: podiatry
Tags: Hammertoes  

Hammertoe is a foot condition involving dislocation of a toe joint, which can cause the dislocated toe to bend in a shape resembling a hammer. Hammertoe most often affects the three middle toes of the feet. Hammertoe can be treated and corrected by a podiatrist. At Southern Maine Foot and Ankle, PA, Dr. Peter Ocampo is your Scarborough foot doctor for the treatment of hammertoes.

Causes of Hammertoe

Hammertoe occurs when the middle joint of a toe becomes dislocated, causing the toe to bend in the shape of a hammer. Symptoms associated with hammertoe include diminished flexibility of the affected toe or foot, as well as pain or discomfort in the toes and feet. Corns and calluses also tend to form near the tip of the affected toe or at the top of the dislocated toe joint. Several factors and conditions can cause the toe joint to become dislocated and lead to hammertoe, including:

  • Wearing ill-fitting footwear
  • Having an extremely high arch
  • Suffering a serious injury to the toes
  • Developing arthritis in the toes and feet
  • Tightening of the tendons or ligaments in the foot

Treatments for Hammertoe

Several options are available for treating hammertoe. Serious cases of hammertoe can require surgery to correct the dislocated toe joint. Repositioning the toe joint during surgery can help the affected toe(s) return to a normal position and no longer resemble the shape of a hammer. Correcting a dislocated toe joint can also improve flexibility and alleviate any pain or discomfort that resulted from the dislocation.

Another way to alleviate the pain and discomfort of hammertoe is to wear shoes that fit properly and have extra room in the toe box. Tight-fitting shoes can cause the toes to squish together, which can aggravate an existing hammertoe condition. Cushioned inserts can also be placed inside the shoes to help with pain or discomfort. Additionally, corn pads are helpful if corns or calluses have developed in conjunction with hammertoe.

Finally, stretching exercises for the toes and feet can be beneficial for treating hammertoe. Stretching exercises help strengthen the muscles in the toes and feet, as well as increase flexibility, which can diminish as a result of hammertoe. Following an examination, Dr. Ocampo, your Scarborough foot doctor, could discuss possible treatment options with you.

Hammertoes can cause pain and discomfort, affect flexibility, and cause corns or calluses to develop. For the treatment of hammertoe, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ocampo, your Scarborough, ME, foot doctor, by calling Southern Maine Foot and Ankle, PA, at (207) 883-0865. Treatment is also available in Windham, by calling the office at (207) 892-5072.