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Hammer Toes Specialist

Foot & Ankle of the Carolinas

Foot and Ankle Surgeons & Podiatrists located in Matthews, NC & Monroe, NC

If one or more of your toes won’t lay flat, it could be hammertoe. At Foot & Ankle of the Carolinas in Matthews and Monroe, North Carolina, the top-notch team of podiatric care experts led by Eric Ward, DPM, and Blaise Woeste, DPM, can help you straighten your toe and walk normally. Call either practice location or click the online appointment maker to get hammertoe treatment now.

Hammer Toes Q & A

What is hammertoe?

Hammertoe is a foot deformity in which your toe's middle joint bends down. In the beginning, hammertoe is flexible, which means you can flatten it with effort, and that it's fixable with basic noninvasive treatments. But, if you don't get help for hammertoe, it may grow rigid, meaning you're unable to straighten your toe at all. 

If you have hammertoe, it's very common to develop corns or calluses on your affected joint or at the end of your toe. You may also experience significant pain, especially when you're wearing shoes that cover your toes. Added to the physical woes, many hammertoe sufferers find it incredibly embarrassing and feel like they can't wear flip-flops, sandals, or any shoes that reveal their toes.

What causes hammertoe?

One of the main causes of hammertoe is muscle and tendon imbalance in your toes. Another common cause is poorly fitted shoes, especially shoes like high heels that cause your toes to curl or cramp up. Often, you have both factors: a muscle or tendon imbalance triggered by highly constrictive shoes.

Arthritis is another potential cause of hammertoe because the disease damages your joints and disrupts the balance in the tissues surrounding them. 

How can you repair a hammertoe deformity?

In most cases, conservative treatment resolves flexible hammertoe. Typically, Foot & Ankle of the Carolinas uses several different approaches for flexible hammertoe, such as:

  • Padding atop the affected joint
  • Custom orthotics to improve foot balance and motion
  • Prescribed exercises to strengthen toe muscles and restore balance
  • Change of shoes, especially avoiding high heels

If you have an underlying condition, such as arthritis, your podiatrist starts by treating the arthritis first and then addresses problems like hammertoe. If your hammertoe comes back after conservative treatment, or if conservative approaches don’t work because your hammertoe is already rigid, you could need surgery. 

The Foot & Ankle of the Carolinas podiatrists are experienced ABFAS board-certified foot surgeons who can release your tendons, realign your bones, repair your joint, or perform any other correction necessary to resolve your hammertoe permanently.

The sooner you get help, the easier hammertoe treatment can be. Reach out to the Foot & Ankle of the Carolinas through online booking or by calling either practice location for help now.