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Hammertoe Specialist

Gentle Foot and Ankle Care -  - Podiatry

Gentle Foot and Ankle Care

Podiatry located in Madison Heights, Troy, Commerce Township & South Lyon

If the middle of your toe continually rises above your other toes, it could be a case of hammertoe. At Gentle Foot and Ankle Care, with offices in Madison Heights, Troy, Commerce Township, and South Lyon, Michigan, the team of esteemed foot and ankle specialists provides efficient patient-focused care for hammertoe. Both non-surgical and surgical options are available, so call the office nearest you or click the online scheduler to learn more.

Hammertoe Q & A

What is hammertoe?

Hammertoe is a foot deformity in which the second, third, or fourth toe bends sharply in the middle, at the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint. With this middle joint bent, the toe can look like a hammer. Hammertoe and bunions often occur together.

Hammertoe usually affects one toe, but it can occur in several toes in a row as well. Hammertoe can be either flexible or rigid. 

Flexible hammertoe

Flexible hammertoe is the milder kind of hammertoe. With flexible hammertoe, your toe bends abnormally but you can still move the PIP joint. If you press the joint, the toe straightens, although it's likely to bend back into the abnormal position without continued pressure. 

Rigid hammertoe

Rigid hammertoe is far more severe than flexible hammertoe. With rigid hammertoe, your toe bends abnormally and you can't move the PIP joint at all. The toe won't straighten even with pressure. 

Untreated flexible hammertoe could lead to rigid hammertoe, so it's always best to treat the condition in the earlier form. 

What problems does hammertoe cause?

Hammertoe can be very uncomfortable and inconvenient, causing issues such as:

  • Pain
  • Corns and calluses above the PIP joint
  • Skin redness
  • Swelling
  • Difficulty finding comfortable footwear
  • Difficulty walking

Hammertoe can change your foot balance and may change the way you walk. Both of these things can increase your risk of falls and may lead to other foot problems as well. 

How is hammertoe treated?

Gentle Foot and Ankle Care offers multiple hammertoe treatment options. The team evaluates your hammertoe carefully, which includes a physical exam as well as X-ray imaging to look for structural issues within your toe and the rest of your forefoot. 

Flexible hammertoe usually improves with conservative care like padding, taping, oral medication, custom orthotics, special toe exercises, and steroid injections in the affected joint. 

You may need to change your footwear and wear custom orthotics long-term to discourage the flexible hammertoe from returning. Some cases of flexible hammertoe may require minimally invasive surgical procedures, such as tendon lengthening or tendon transfer, to strengthen your toe's support system and help it maintain its position. 

Rigid hammertoe usually requires surgical correction. The board-certified foot and ankle surgeons at Gentle Foot and Ankle Care can remove excess bone, realign your toe bones, and balance tendons. You may have internal pins to keep your toe fixed into position as it heals, or alternatively a joint fusion to make your joint into one solid bone that can't bend abnormally. 

The expert surgeons use minimally invasive surgical techniques for hammertoe in most cases, which means you can usually have a same-day procedure with local anesthesia. 

To learn more about hammertoe solutions, call Gentle Foot and Ankle Care or book your appointment online. 

The foot doctors at Gentle Foot Care offer ankle replacement surgery, bunion treatment, and overall foot and ankle care. Call us to book your appointment today.