Hammertoes Specialist

Brandywine Foot and Ankle Associates

Podiatrists and Foot & Ankle Surgeons located in Coatesville, Limerick, and Exton, PA

SOFT INTRO (50-100 words): Hammertoes are a foot abnormality that causes toes to get stuck in a bent position. The abnormal bend puts pressure on the toe joint or pad, causing corns, calluses, and pain. The team of board-certified podiatrists at Brandywine Foot and Ankle Associates in Coatesville, Limerick, and Exton, Pennsylvania, recommend early treatment for hammertoes to prevent pain and future foot problems. Call the office or schedule a consultation online today.

Hammertoes Q&A

What are hammertoes?

Hammertoes are a type of foot deformity affecting the joints in the second, third, fourth, or fifth toe. With hammertoes, the joint in the toe bends upward. 

The abnormal bend puts pressure on the joint and pad of the toe when wearing shoes. This pressure causes corns and calluses that may result in foot pain. 

During the early stages, the joint is flexible and may respond positively to noninvasive podiatry care. However, hammertoes are a progressive foot condition. The joint becomes rigid and fixed when left untreated, requiring surgical intervention to correct the abnormal bend.  

What causes hammertoes?

Hammertoes develop because of changes in muscle strength in your foot or leg. Weakening of these muscles causes the tendon that attaches to your toe to pull on the joint abnormally, creating the bend. 

The type of shoes you wear may cause changes in muscle and tendon balance. For example, wearing tight shoes or high heels forces your toes into a bent position. Over time, your muscles can no longer straighten out the toe. 

Injuries to the foot may also cause hammertoes. 

What happens during a consultation for hammertoes?

The Brandywine Foot and Ankle Associates team takes a patient-centered approach to care. When you come in with concerns about hammertoes, your provider performs a comprehensive exam to fully understand the extent of your foot deformity so they can create the most effective treatment plan.

Your podiatrist reviews your symptoms and medical history and examines your feet. Then, they closely inspect your toes, touching and moving the joints to assess flexibility. 

They also perform X-rays to determine the degree of your deformity.

How are hammertoes treated?

Treatment for hammertoes depends on the flexibility of your toe joint. When caught early, the Brandywine Foot and Ankle Associates team recommends nonsurgical options such as:

  • Changing footwear
  • Toe taping
  • Foot padding for corns and calluses
  • Custom-made orthotics
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Foot and toe exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles and tendons

If your hammertoe is rigid or nonsurgical interventions fail to ease your symptoms, your podiatrist may recommend surgery to correct the foot deformity. The type of surgery you need depends on the severity of the foot condition. 

Getting treatment for your hammertoes during the early stages may prevent the need for surgical intervention. For expert podiatry care, call Brandywine Foot and Ankle Associates or schedule a consultation online today.