When you first develop hammertoe, you may not have pain or other symptoms. But if you don’t get early treatment, the condition worsens and becomes a permanent bend that requires surgery. The board-certified podiatrists at Sacramento Foot and Ankle Center in Davis, Carmichael and Sacramento, California, provide comprehensive care for hammertoe. With early treatment, they can restore the toe’s natural position with conservative therapies. As soon as you notice a bent toe, call one of the offices or use the online booking feature to schedule an appointment.
Hammertoe is a type of foot deformity that usually affects the second through fourth toes. The deformity develops when the tip of the toe bends down instead of pointing straight forward.
While the abnormal bending may begin due to an underlying condition, as it continues, the muscles and tendons that control toe movement become imbalanced. Your muscles work in pairs. One muscle bends the toe, while another is responsible for straightening the toe.
When your toe is forced to stay in a bent position for an extended time, the muscles tighten, making it hard for the opposing muscle to return the toe to its normal, straight position.
You may inherit a genetic tendency to form a hammertoe. Trauma to the toe, neuromuscular conditions, bunions, and inflammatory conditions like arthritis can also lead to the problem. In many cases, however, a hammertoe develops from wearing shoes that are too tight or high-heeled.
As a hammertoe progresses, you experience one or more of the following.
As the hammertoe becomes more severe, you may have a hard time finding shoes that fit.
When the hammertoe starts to develop, the toe is still flexible. At this stage, conservative treatment can solve the problem. Your Sacramento Foot and Ankle Center doctor may prescribe:
Your doctor may use a splint, orthotics, or taping to relieve pressure from the toe, realign its natural position, and restore muscle balance.
Without treatment, the muscles become rigid until your toe can’t move, a condition called contracture. At this stage, your only treatment option is surgery.
Sacramento Foot and Ankle Center podiatrists perform several surgical techniques to straighten hammertoe. For example, they may fuse the bones, replace a rigid tendon with healthy tissue, or perform a joint resection.
At the first sign of hammertoe, call Sacramento Foot and Ankle Center or schedule an appointment online.