What is Hammertoe?
Hammertoe is a deformity of the middle joint of the second, third, or fourth toe causing it to be permantantly bent, resembling a hammer.
Causes of Hammertoes..
Hammer toe most frequently results from wearing poorly-fit shoes that can force the toe into a bent position, such as excessively high heels or shoes that are too short or narrow for the foot. Having the toes bent for long periods of time can cause the muscles in them to shorten, resulting in the hammer toe deformity. This is often found in conjunction with bunions or other foot problems. It can also be caused by nerve, muscle, or joint damage resulting from such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke or diabetes.
Surgery is Indicated When..
In some cases, usually when the hammertoe has become more rigid, surgery is needed to relieve the pain and discomfort caused by the deformity. Dr. Piccarelli will discuss the options and select a plan tailored to your needs. Among other concerns, he will take into consideration the type of shoes you want to wear, the number of toes involved, your activity level, your age, and the severity of the hammertoe.
In many cases, conservative treatment consisting of physical therapy and new shoes with soft, spacious toe boxes is enough to resolve the condition, while in more severe or longstanding cases orthopedic surgery may be necessary to correct the deformity. It is possible that a patient may require other procedures, as well-especially when the hammertoe condition is severe. Some of these procedures include skin wedging (the removal of wedges of skin), tendon / muscle rebalancing or lengthening, small tendon transfers, or relocation of surrounding joints.