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Hammertoes Specialist

Wake Foot and Ankle Center

Podiatrists & Foot and Ankle Surgeons located in Wake Forest, NC

Hammertoes, in which your toe’s middle joint contracts and forces the rest of the toe downward in a “V” shape, is often quite uncomfortable and can also cause other problems like corns. At Wake Foot and Ankle Center in Wake Forest, North Carolina, James Judge, DPM, and Michael Hodos, DPM, have the hammertoe solutions you need to restore your toes to normal. The sooner you seek care, the easier hammertoe treatment is, so call the office or book with the online appointment maker now.

Hammertoes Q & A

What are hammertoes?

Hammertoes are foot deformities characterized by a downward-bending proximal interphalangeal toe joint (the middle joint). A hammertoe looks like a hammer or an upside-down V, and typically occurs in your small toes.

 Many hammertoe sufferers hate the appearance of hammertoes, but that’s really only a small part of the issue. Hammertoes can eventually cause serious pain, corns, calluses, balance problems, and difficulty walking if you don’t get treatment.

Usually, the affected joint is still flexible in the early stage of hammertoe, but without treatment, it generally grows rigid and immovable in time. 

Why do I have hammertoes?

The main cause of hammertoe is muscle imbalance in your toes. When toe muscles are imbalanced, you can have a domino effect of tendon shortening and joint pressure, which causes your toe to contract. The cause of the muscle imbalance may be heredity, foot trauma, arthritis, or other types of illness. 

Wearing too-tight shoes that push your toes close together, or too-short shoes that force your toes to curl slightly, can also contribute to hammertoes. 

How does the doctor diagnose hammertoe?

Your podiatrist at Wake Forest Foot and Ankle examines your foot and may ask you to move your toes in certain ways to assess the damage. Digital X-rays and diagnostic ultrasounds are also helpful, as they can show bone, ligament, tendon, and muscle changes that led to your hammertoe. 

How do you treat hammertoes?

Hammertoes can respond very well to conservative treatments like:

  • Taping
  • Splinting or strapping
  • Padding
  • Custom orthotics
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Avoiding tight shoes
  • Paring corns and calluses 

In many cases, flexible hammertoe returns to a normal joint position with the treatments above. But, with rigid hammertoe, the joint isn’t easy to move and might require surgical intervention. The Wake Forest Foot and Ankle podiatrists are surgical specialists who can remove excess bone growth, reposition your affected proximal interphalangeal joint, and restore proper muscle and tendon balance in your foot. 

The Wake Forest Foot and Ankle team can remove hammertoe problems and help you avoid this frustrating deformity in the future. Reach out by phone or with the online booking tool to get help now.