A hammer toe is a deformity where your toe curls down rather than pointing straight ahead, and it usually happens because you’re not wearing the right shoes. At Ankle & Foot Centers of Georgia - West Cobb in Marietta, Georgia, podiatrist Ryan Goldfine, DPM, offers innovative treatments for hammer toes to ease your pain and improve your quality of life. To schedule an appointment with a foot doctor, call the office or book online today.
Your toes are supposed to point straight ahead. A hammer toe is a toe deformity where your toe instead curls downward at the middle joint in a way that resembles a hammer. The condition usually affects your middle three toes. A mallet toe can be very similar, but with less joints affected.
Usually, the underlying cause of hammer toe is your footwear. Your shoes should be roomy enough that your toes can comfortably lie flat. If they’re too tight, narrow, or have pointed ends, you’re at risk of developing foot and toe deformities, including hammer toe.
When you wear shoes that crowd your toes, your toes may get used to being bent and staying in that position even after taking your shoes off. The muscles and connective tissues in your toes become tight and stiff, so you can’t move your toes properly.
Some people are more likely to develop hammer toe if you have:
Hammer toes often accompany other foot conditions, including bunions, corns, and calluses.
Hammer toes may be “flexible” or “rigid.” In their early stages, hammer toes are flexible, meaning they look bent when at rest, but you can still move your toe at the joint. When left untreated, hammer toes become rigid, meaning they’re stuck in a bent position, and you can’t move them.
In addition to changing the look and function of your toe, a hammer toe can cause:
If you have diabetes, a hammer toe can increase your risk of foot ulcers.
Hammer toes are easily treatable with a conservative approach if you catch them early, while you can still bend your toe. Schedule an appointment as soon as possible at Ankle & Foot Centers of Georgia - West Cobb if your toe appears bent, even if it doesn’t cause any pain.
With treatment, you can prevent the hammer toe from getting worse, leading to complications like chronic foot pain and a permanent bend. Dr. Goldfine may recommend:
If you can’t bend your toe or are in significant pain, you may need minimally invasive surgery to correct your hammer toe. Usually, with early treatment, you can prevent the condition from reaching that point.
Schedule an appointment at Ankle & Foot Centers of Georgia - West Cobb online or over the phone.
Podiatrist seeing patients from Marietta, Kennesaw, Hiram, and Acworth.