New Age Foot & Ankle Surgery -  - Foot and Ankle Surgery

New Age Foot & Ankle Surgery

Foot and Ankle Surgery located in Richmond, VA & Farmville, VA

Without timely treatment, hammertoes can worsen to the point where foot surgery is the only option. The expert podiatrists at New Age Foot & Ankle Surgery provide conservative and surgical hammertoe treatments for patients of all ages at two convenient locations in Richmond and Farmville, Virginia. If you think you have a hammertoe, call the nearest office today or request an appointment online.

Hammertoe Q&A

What are hammertoes?

A hammertoe is an abnormal bend, or contracture, in the middle joint of a toe. A similar condition, known as mallet toe, involves a bend in the joint closest to your toenail. These contractures usually occur in your second, third, or fourth toes. Hammertoes can cause foot pain or discomfort while wearing shoes, walking, or running.

At first, hammertoes are flexible and can resolve with simple treatments like changing your shoes and wearing foot orthotics. Over time, an untreated hammertoe becomes less flexible. If a hammertoe becomes rigid, you may need foot surgery to correct it.  

What causes hammertoes?

Hammertoes are due to an imbalance in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that typically hold the toe straight. Wearing shoes that are too narrow or tight in the toe box is a common cause of this imbalance.

Other factors that can increase your risk for hammertoe include previous foot trauma like a stubbed or broken toe, increasing age, and certain medical conditions like arthritis and diabetes. People who have longer second toes and those who are genetically predisposed to an imbalance in the toe muscles are also more likely to have a hammertoe.

How do I know if I have a hammertoe?

The most prominent feature of a hammertoe is an abnormal bend in the toe joint. Moving the toe or wearing shoes may be painful. You may also develop corns and calluses where your toe rubs against the inside of your shoe.

If you think you may have a hammertoe, call New Age Foot & Ankle Surgery as soon as possible. Hammertoe is simple to treat in its early stages, but it won’t go away on its own. If left untreated, the condition typically gets worse.

How are hammertoes treated?

First, the team at New Age Foot & Ankle Surgery examines your foot to determine if the toe is flexible or rigid. They may also take an X-ray to confirm the diagnosis.

Then, they create an individualized treatment plan tailored to your particular needs. Flexible hammertoes usually improve with nonsurgical treatments, such as:

  • Changes in footwear
  • Using foot orthotics
  • Padding corns and calluses
  • Splinting or strapping the toe
  • Exercises to stretch and strengthen your foot muscles
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain

A severe hammertoe, including a toe that’s rigid or doesn’t improve with conservative treatment, needs surgery. Depending on your needs, the team at New Age Foot & Ankle Surgery may perform tendon lengthening, tendon transfer, or joint fusion surgery.

For comprehensive care of hammertoes, call New Age Foot & Ankle Surgery today or request an appointment online.