Hammered and Curly Toes

Hammertoes are a deformity of the toes due to a contracture at one or more joints in the toe itself.  The hammertoe usually results from unbalanced tendons that attach to the toe.  Each toe has two long tendons that start in the leg and attach to the end of the digit, one goes on top and the other on the bottom.  Like Reins on a horse, if one becomes more powerful, the toe will begin to buckle at the joint.  This tendon imbalance can be due to genetics, trauma or various neuromuscular disorders.   These hammertoes can become painful if the top of the knuckle constantly rubs on shoes or if the tip of the toe builds up a callus from excessive pressure at the tip of the toe.  Hammertoes can be detrimental to diabetics because these areas can develop into ulcerations that could lead to infection.   There are multiple conservative treatment options like padding, changing shoe gear, splinting and strapping the toes.  Hammertoes are progressive and will usually get worse.  The only way to “fix” the problem is by fixing the deformity.  This involves surgery.  There are several surgical options with different post operative time frames depending on the specific deformity that the toe has.  These are either performed in the office or in a surgery center.   If you think you have hammertoes or would like to discuss any other of your foot and/ankle issues, please call us at 972-542-2155