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Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers

Podiatrists, Foot & Ankle Surgeons located in Arlington, TX & Mansfield, TX

You may not feel any pain when your hammertoe first appears, so it’s easy to ignore the problem. At that early stage, the problem is easy to treat, but if you wait, you’ll need surgery. The podiatrists at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers use numerous conservative treatments to address symptoms caused by a hammertoe while it’s still flexible. They’re also highly experienced in the types of surgery needed to correct a hammertoe. If you have questions about hammertoes, call one of the two office locations in Arlington or Mansfield, Texas, or book an appointment online.

Hammertoe Q & A

What is hammertoe and what causes it?

Hammertoe is a deformity that may affect any of your toes, but it’s most often found in the second toe. The deformity occurs when the tip of the toe bends downward, giving the toe the shape of a claw.

The abnormal bend in the toe develops when you have an imbalance in the muscles that control the toe’s movement. Muscles work in pairs: One makes the toe bend, while the opposing muscle straightens it.

When your toe is forced to bend and stays in that position for an extended time, the muscles tighten. As a result, the opposing muscle can’t make the toe return to its normal position and it stays bent.

Hammertoe may be caused by:

  • A second toe that’s longer than the big toe
  • Shoes that cramp the toe, making it bend
  • Inflammatory joint disease
  • Neuromuscular conditions
  • Joint instability

You may also have a higher risk for hammertoe if you injure your toe.

What symptoms develop due to hammertoe?

If you develop a hammertoe, you’ll experience symptoms such as:

  • Pain when wearing shoes
  • Corn on the top of the toe
  • Callus underneath the toe
  • Burning sensation
  • Inflammation

When a hammertoe goes untreated, you can end up with a permanently bent toe.

How is hammertoe treated?

Treatment for you hammertoe depends on your symptoms, severity of the deformity, and your medical history. Your doctor at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers may recommend either conservative treatment or surgery. Your conservative treatment may include:

  • Splints to realign the toe
  • Orthotics to reduce pressure and restore muscle balance
  • Exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles
  • Orthopedic shoes with a large toe box
  • Injections or topical medications to reduce inflammation and relieve your pain

If your hammertoe goes too long without treatment, the muscles become rigidly bent, a condition called contracture. After contracture develops, your best treatment option to correct the problem is surgery.

Your doctor at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers chooses from among several possible surgical techniques for addressing your hammertoe. For example, a bone fusion, tendon transfer, or joint resection may all effectively treat your hammertoe.

If you notice you have difficulty straightening your toe, call Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers or book an appointment online.