Foot & Ankle Specialist in the South Bay
Hammer toe is a deformity of the lesser toes (second, third, fourth, or
fifth toes), in which the toe is bent at the middle joint so that it looks
like a hammer. A hammer toe may be flexible or rigid.
Hammer toe most often results from wearing shoes that do not fit properly,
particularly tight and compressive shoes such as high heels. It can also
be caused by pressure created from a bunion. This is because tight and
narrow shoes push lesser toes into a flexed position. When coupled with
the weight of the body pushing toes forward even further, muscles in the
toes can tighten and become unable to stretch out. In some cases, hammer
toe may be genetic and caused by a nerve disorder.
Hammer toe may be treated using conservative approaches or surgery:
Shoe modifications are the most common treatment for hammer toe. Shoes
with a large toe box can relieve pressure and provide more room to hammer
toes. Hammer toe crests or splints may also be used to hold the hammer
toe down and relieve pressure in the forefoot. Shoe inserts, including
gel toe caps or shields, can also be used to reduce friction and provide
comfort when walking.
When patients continue to experience debilitating pain despite conservative
measures, such as taping or accommodative shoes, surgery may be an option.
Correcting a hammer toe can typically be performed in an outpatient setting
and procedures may vary depending on the extent of the deformity. Patients
will generally be able to walk following surgery, but should avoid more
strenuous activity while the toe heals.
Request an Appointment
Our foot and ankle specialist is available to help you learn more about
treatment options for hammer toe. To request an appointment at one of
our three South Bay locations, call us today.