Hammer Toes Specialist

Metropolitan Foot and Ankle Specialists

Podiatrists located in Aurora, CO

The pain and irritation of hammer toes may motivate you to seek professional treatment, but if your symptoms are mild and you’re tempted to wait, keep this in mind: The longer you wait, the more likely you are to need surgery. The doctors at Metropolitan Foot and Ankle Specialists have years of experience developing customized treatments that relieve pain and restores optimal function. To schedule an appointment, call their office in Aurora, Colorado or use online booking.

Hammer Toes Q & A

Metropolitan Foot and Ankle Specialists

What causes hammer toe?

Hammer toe is a deformity that can develop in all your toes except your big toe. It occurs when the middle joint is abnormally bent, making your toe resemble the shape of a hammer.

This deformity is caused by an imbalance in muscles that bend and straighten your toes. When your toe stays in a bent position for any length of time, the muscles that bend the toe tighten. Eventually, it becomes impossible for the opposing muscles to straighten it out.

Hammer toes often develop due to wearing shoes that force your toes into a cramped position. This can happen with shoes that are too small and high-heeled shoes. You can also end up with hammer toes after your stub or break your toes.

In some cases, hammer toes arise from structural issues such as flat feet and weak muscles, or foot conditions like bunions.

What are the symptoms of hammer toes?

Common symptoms of hammer toes include:

  • Pain or irritation when wearing shoes
  • Inflammation, redness, or burning in the joint
  • Corns that build up on top of or between toes
  • Calluses on the ball of your foot
  • Open sores

How are hammer toes treated?

It’s important to seek treatment for hammer toes because they’re progressive, so they don’t go away, and they get worse over time.

When you first develop hammer toe, the toe is still flexible, and symptoms are usually mild. While your toe is flexible, the team at Metropolitan Foot and Ankle Specialists can treat the problem with noninvasive methods.

When you don’t seek treatment, the toe gradually becomes rigid and fixed in its bent position. The rate at which this happens is different for each patient, but once your toe becomes inflexible, surgical intervention is needed to fix the problem.

Nonsurgical treatment options include:

  • Change in footwear: comfortable shoes with a heel no higher than two inches and a roomy toe box
  • Orthotic devices: custom orthotics help control the muscle imbalance
  • Splinting or strapping: hammertoes can be realigned with a splint or small strap
  • Padding for corns and calluses: nonmedicated pads prevent irritation
  • Exercises: targeted exercises stretch and strengthen muscles
  • Injection therapy: corticosteroid injections relieve pain and inflammation
  • Medications: oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen may be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation

Please get early treatment for hammer toe so that it can be repaired and normal function can be restored without surgery. Call Metropolitan Foot and Ankle Specialists or use online booking to schedule an appointment.