Hammertoe Surgery in NYC

What is a hammertoe?

A hammertoe is a malformation of the foot in which the toe bends or curves in an unusual way. The toe can bend in either direction and can affect one toe or many toes. Hammertoes most frequently occur in the middle toes — between the big toe and small toe. Without surgery, it may be difficult to fix or realign the affected toe.

What causes a hammertoe?

A hammertoe is caused when certain muscles, ligaments, or tendons can no longer keep the toe properly aligned, causing the middle toe joint to bend. A hammertoe may develop for the following reasons:

  • Inheriting certain genes that make you more prone to hammertoes
  • Having certain diseases that increase your risk of foot deformities
  • Injury to the toe, such as jamming or breaking a toe
  • Wearing shoes that are too tight
  • Having a bunion, which pushes the toes inward
  • Aging

What are the symptoms of a hammertoe?

The most noticeable symptom of a hammertoe is a toe that bends abnormally at the middle toe joint. Other symptoms of hammertoe may include:

  • Pain at the surface area of the bent toe
  • Development of corns on the affected toe joint
  • Inflammation of the toe joint
  • Skin of the toe joint becomes red
  • Pain when you try to move the toe joint
  • Pain in the ball of your foot (metatarsalgia)

Symptoms of hammertoe may sometimes be confused with mallet toe, which is also characterized by an abnormal bend in the toe joint. Your doctor can help determine which condition has affected your toe.

How are hammertoes diagnosed?

A hammertoe can be diagnosed by your doctor through a physical exam, followed by an X-ray of the affected foot to help determine the severity of your hammertoe.

Can a hammertoe lead to complications if left untreated?

Left untreated, a hammertoe may cause permanent deformities of your toes. A hammertoe may also lead to corns and calluses as the toes rub against the tongue of your shoes.

How are hammertoes treated?

Treatment options for hammertoe will vary depending on the severity of the toe deformity. For cases in which the toe is still able to move, your doctor may first recommend certain conservative treatment options to help provide cosmetic and pain relief. Conservative treatment options may include:

  • Wearing shoes with more toe space
  • Wearing shoes with low heels
  • Wearing toe wraps or splints
  • Wearing shoe inserts or pads to help correct the deformity and alleviate pain
  • Certain exercises to help strengthen your toe muscles

If conservative treatment options fail, your doctor may recommend certain surgical options to correct the underlying causes.

If you are experiencing symptoms of a hammertoe or would like to learn more about our available podiatric services and treatment, request an appointment with Dr. Isaacson today. With 80 years in practice, convenient locations in Manhattan and the Bronx, and experience across a range of podiatric specialties, our mission is to provide high-quality podiatric education, information, and care to patients in a convenient, comfortable setting. Call our Manhattan location 212.420.6002, our Bronx location 718-863-3338, or fill out the form on this page to schedule an appointment.

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