While far from dangerous, a hammertoe can be problematic, causing considerable pain and discomfort. At North Central Texas Foot & Ankle, the team of podiatric experts specializes in progressive structural issues like hammertoes, allowing patients in Decatur and Roanoke, Texas, to halt and reverse the condition. For expert care of hammertoes, call the location nearest you or request an appointment using the online booking feature.

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What is a hammertoe?

A hammertoe is an aptly named condition in which your toe — typically your second, third, fourth, or fifth — bends or contracts upward in the middle of your toe. Hammertoes aren’t necessarily dangerous, but they can cause serious problems as your toe encounters increasing friction, which can lead to painful calluses and corns on the tops of your toes.

Hammertoes are generally progressive, starting out as a flexible hammertoe, which means you can push your toe back into a straight position. Left unchecked, however, your hammertoe can become rigid, and no amount of pressure will force your toe into its intended shape and position.

What causes a hammertoe?

The technical cause of a hammertoe is an imbalance between the muscles and tendons in your toe. What causes this imbalance is a little more complicated and includes:

  • Ill-fitting shoes, especially those that don’t allow enough room for your toes to spread out evenly
  • A toe that’s too long
  • Neurological issues
  • An inherited structural defect
  • Trauma to the toe

Whatever the cause, the earlier you seek treatment for your hammertoe at North Central Texas Foot & Ankle, the better.

How are hammertoes diagnosed and treated?

After examining your toe, your podiatrist at North Central Texas Foot & Ankle takes an X-ray using their in-house digital X-ray technology. This imaging provides valuable information about the extent of the contracture.

With your hammertoe assessed, your podiatrist typically starts out conservatively with:

  • Orthotics to correct the imbalance
  • Taping and splinting
  • Padding for the tops of your toes
  • A change in footwear (starting out with open-toed shoes to give your toes more room)
  • Stretching exercises

If your hammertoe doesn’t respond to these treatments or the contracture is severe, your podiatrist may recommend surgical correction of your hammertoe. There are many ways to approach this surgery since it depends upon the degree of your hammertoe. In most cases, however, your surgeon performs the procedure on an outpatient basis.

To avoid surgery, it’s best that you schedule an appointment at North Central Texas Foot & Ankle the moment you notice a problem in your toe. To schedule your appointment, call or use the online booking tool.