Bay Area Foot and Ankle Center
Sireesha Battula, DPM
Board Certified Podiatrist Foot & Ankle Surgeon located in Albany, CA
Hammertoes can get stuck in a bent position that’s very uncomfortable and lead to the development of corns. If you have hammertoes, Sireesha Battula, DPM, a board-certified podiatrist at Bay Area Foot and Ankle Center in Albany, California serving the greater Berkeley and El Cerrito area, can help. Dr. Battula provides exceptional care for foot problems like hammertoes, and with her help, you can resolve this troublesome condition. Call Bay Area Foot and Ankle Center today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment using the online form.
Hammertoes Q & A
What are hammertoes?
Hammertoes are toes that develop an abnormal bend in the joints, affecting the way you walk and making it difficult to walk comfortably. Hammertoes usually develop on your smaller toes, not the big toe.
The affected toes typically turn red and swell a little. You might feel a burning sensation around the hammertoes. You’re also more likely to get corns if you have hammertoes. Corns are hard calluses that form on your feet.
In the early stages, hammertoes are still flexible. However, if you don’t get expert treatment, hammertoes can become stiff, as the tendons seize, and they freeze in place. Immovable hammertoes can lead to joint misalignment, which often requires surgery.
What causes hammertoes?
Hammertoes develop because of a problem with the muscles and ligaments surrounding your middle toe joint. Your chances of developing hammertoes are higher if you have structural abnormalities in your feet, such as high arches or flat feet, or you have a bunion.
Having a second toe that’s longer than your big toe is another risk factor. Hammertoes can also form after severely stubbing your toes or breaking bones in your toes.
You’re more likely to get hammertoes if you have arthritis or diabetes, or other members of your family have them. Wearing shoes that squash your toes or put them under a lot of strain can also lead to the development of hammertoes.
How are hammertoes treated?
If you find you’re developing hammertoes, Dr. Battula at Bay Area Foot and Ankle Center can carry out a comprehensive biomechanical evaluation of your feet. This helps in finding the best treatment approach for your hammertoes.
One treatment that often works well for early-stage hammertoes is custom orthotics. These are shoe inserts designed to fit your feet precisely while relieving pressure on your toes.
You might also benefit from a course of physical therapy. Your therapist can help you stretch the ligaments in your toes and ease the pressure on the toe joint. Toe spacers that fit between your toes help to stop them from freezing in a bent position.
If you have corns on your hammertoes, the most effective treatment is for Dr. Battula to shave them off. This is safer than trying to remove the corn yourself and more effective than over-the-counter products like cushions and pads. If your toes are inflamed and painful, an injection of cortisone can relieve your discomfort.
Would I need surgery for hammertoes?
If your hammertoes aren’t improving with these measures, or your toes freeze or lock into place, you might need to undergo surgery. Dr. Battula carries out a thorough surgical evaluation to see whether you’re a good candidate for hammertoe surgery.
There are three main approaches to surgery for hammertoes:
- Tenotomy for flexible hammertoes
- Arthroplasty for less flexible hammertoes
- Arthrodesis for rigid hammertoes
These are all outpatient procedures. Dr. Battula can advise you on which operation would be best in your case.
Call Bay Area Foot and Ankle Center today to find out more about hammertoe treatment or book an appointment online.