Hammer Toes

Hammer Toes

Hammer Toes services offered in The Fan, VCU, Richmond, VA

Hammertoe is an abnormal bend in the middle toes. The bend brings to mind the shape of a hammer. At Richmond Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates, podiatrists Weston Angermeier, DPM, and Rachel Hensley, DPM, diagnose and treat hammertoe to restore your foot function and relieve your discomfort. Call the Richmond, Virginia, office or book your appointment online now.

Quick Facts About Hammer Toes

Hammer toes can cause pain and discomfort, as well as difficulty walking.

Corns and calluses often form on the top of the toe or on the sole of the foot due to an increased amount of friction against shoes.

Diabetic patients should be especially careful to wear shoes that fit properly and provide enough space for their toes to move around freely.

Hammer Toes
Q & A

What is hammertoe?

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that causes abnormal bending in the middle of the toe. It usually occurs in the second, third, and fourth toes. A hammertoe looks like the head of a hammer or an upside-down “V.”

With a flexible hammertoe, you can move your toe. But it usually pops back into the abnormal position after you do so. With rigid hammertoe, your toe remains in the abnormal position even if you try to push it down.

Flexible hammertoe can become rigid hammertoe if you don’t treat the condition early.

What symptoms does hammertoe cause?

Hammertoe can cause symptoms inside or on top of the affected toe joint:

  • Stiffness
  • Discomfort
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Corns and calluses

Hammertoe can also affect other parts of the foot, causing pain in the ball of the foot, just under the affected toe. Many people with hammertoe also have bunions.

Rigid hammertoe can change your foot balance and gait (the way you walk), which leads to more damage inside your foot.

What causes hammertoe?

Hammertoe can develop with imbalances in the soft tissues — the ligaments, tendons, and muscles — that surround your toe joints. These imbalances might develop because of your inherited foot type or after an injury.

Arthritis, which affects the joints and surrounding tissues, can also contribute to hammertoe. Wearing tight shoes, like high heels, can increase your risk of developing hammertoe.

How is hammertoe treated?

Richmond Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates provides both conservative and surgical hammertoe treatment.

Flexible hammertoe usually responds to nonsurgical treatments, like ice packs, padding, taping, medication, and cortisone injections. Custom orthotics (shoe inserts) can also ease the symptoms and prevent your hammertoe from getting worse.

Rigid hammertoe usually requires surgery because the joint’s frozen in place. Surgery can remove excess bone, realign the tissues around your toe, and straighten your toe using internal hardware.

To avoid a repetition of hammertoe, you might need to avoid tight shoes or wear custom orthotics from now on.

If you have hammertoe, you can trust Richmond Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates for the highest standard of care. Book your appointment now using the online scheduler or call the office for help with hammertoe.