By Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care
March 16, 2016
Tags: hammertoe  

Hammertoe is a deformity where the toe is bent at the middle joint, giving it the appearance of a hammer. It most often affects the second, third or fourth toe. Hammertoes cause pain both from keeping the toe in a bent position and from the discomfort of wearing shoes. Corns and calluses may form on the top of the toe joint or the tip of the toe due to the abnormal position and can eventually result in open sores.

Treatment Options

At Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care, our podiatrists, Dr. Varun Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah will take a detailed medical history and then conduct a thorough examination of the toes. Although the hammer-like appearance may be obvious, there are other conditions that have similar symptoms to hammertoe and correct diagnosis is necessary before treatment can begin. X-rays may also be ordered to help confirm the diagnosis.

There are several non-surgical avenues of treatment available for hammertoe. These include:

  • Medication: oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and/or cortisone injections may be part of the initial treatment to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Padding: if your hammertoe has progressed to the point where corns or calluses have already formed, the podiatrist may recommend pads to prevent additional irritation
  • Orthotics: custom designed inserts for shoes can help correct the muscle imbalance that is one of the primary causes of the deformity
  • Strapping or splinting: the foot doctor may put splints or straps on the affected toe to help realign and straighten the toe
  • Exercise: stretching and strengthening surrounding muscles can provide needed support to the bent toe

Hammertoe is a progressive disorder and will only get worse if not treated. Eventually, the toe will become frozen in the hammer position and surgery may then become the only option for correcting the deformity and avoiding disability. If you have signs of hammertoe, contact our Edison, Monroe, or Monmouth Junction office for an appointment and get treatment for your toe condition before it becomes a major medical problem.