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Hammertoe is a deformity of the second, third or fourth toes. In this condition, the toe is bent at the middle joint, resembling a hammer. Left untreated, hammertoes can become inflexible and require surgery. People with hammertoe may have corns or calluses on the top of the middle joint of the toe or on the tip of the toe. They may also feel pain in their toes or feet and have difficulty finding comfortable shoes.
Causes of hammertoe include improperly fitting shoes and muscle imbalance.
Treatment for the condition typically involves shoes with soft, roomy toe boxes and toe exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles. Commercially available straps, cushions or non-medicated corn pads may also relieve symptoms.
Surgery for hammer toes should not be taken lightly. In the past they have been under appreciated and surgical results were not good. New procedures and techniques are available now. Dr Young will evaluate the cause of your hammer toes and determine which procedure is right for you. Sometimes nonsurgical treatment with orthotics and change of shoes styles and size is all that is needed. When surgery is indicated, there is a range of procedures from lengthening a tight tendon or capsule, removing a piece of bone, replacing the joint with a spacer or fusing the toe joint. Other problems may be associated with the hammer toe, such as a torn capsule on the ball of the joint, or a severe bunion or neuroma. Your entire foot and the biomechanics of your gait must be considered for optimal results of hammer toe treatment.