A hammertoe occurs from a weakening in the muscles, tendons or ligaments that keep the toe straight. The most common culprit is poorly fitting shoes, especially high heels, which put severe pressure on the toes. Arthritis, genetics and injuries can also cause the condition. Hammertoes can be especially serious for people with diabetes, because they have a higher risk for diabetic foot ulcers.
Dr. Angela Edwards, the podiatrist at Mimbres Valley Medical Group will work with you to find the right treatment, which may be as simple as switching footwear. We can also design custom orthotics to wear inside your shoes, or recommend toe exercises or other non-invasive options.
If the pain persists, though, surgery may be your best solution.
Surgical Options to Correct Your Toe
- Flexible Hammertoe
- If your toe can still be moved and straightened, a tendon transfer may be used. This procedure reroutes the tendons from the bottom of the toe to the top where it is sticking up, pulling the bent joint flat.
- Fixed Hammertoe
- If your hammertoe has become stiff and rigid, there are two options: joint resection or fusion. During these procedures, incisions are made in the ligaments, tendons and bones to relieve pain and straighten the joint. Pins and screws are often used for a few weeks to keep the toe in position.
Recovery & Follow-Up Care
We usually perform hammertoe correction on an outpatient basis, allowing you to go home the same day. Depending on the type of surgery, recovery may take a few weeks, with some swelling expected.
Your podiatrist and dedicated care team will closely monitor your healing. We may recommend for physical therapy to strengthen the toe, and will provide any special footwear or walking aids you need.