Hammertoe Specialist

West Suburban Podiatry

Podiatric Physicians and Surgeons located in Western Springs, IL

Hammertoe pushes your middle toe joint up and forces the ends of your toes down sharply. This common foot deformity may cause discomfort, embarrassment, and even difficulty walking if untreated. At West Suburban Podiatry in Western Springs, Illinois, the foot care specialists offer expert diagnosis and treatment for hammertoe and all types of foot deformity. Call the office or schedule an appointment online today.

Hammertoe Q & A

What is hammertoe?

Hammertoe is an abnormal contracture of the middle joint in your second, third, or fourth toe. When the middle joint contracts, it pushes straight up. The last joint on the toe then points down, which creates a hammer shape. Hammertoe can affect just one joint or several at once. 

Claw toe is a hammertoe variant in which both of the little toe joints contract to form a rounded claw shape. In mallet toe, only the last joint (just under the toenail) contracts. 

When hammertoe first develops, it's flexible, which means you can flatten your toe with effort. However, if you don't treat hammertoe, it may grow rigid and not respond to conservative care. 

Hammertoe can also cause corns or calluses on the middle of your toe. These are a common side-effect of shoe friction. Eventually, you might start walking differently because of hammertoe and experience pain, opening the door for other foot deformities to develop. 

For these reasons, it's important to see your podiatrist as soon as you notice a change in your toes.

What causes hammertoe?

Hammertoe usually occurs because of improper footwear, muscle and tendon imbalance in the toes, or a combination of the two. 

Any shoes with a short toe box can push your toes to bend. High heels are a common culprit because they elevate your heel and put pressure on your toes, often forcing them to turn. Other possible causes of hammertoe can include toe trauma and genetics. 

How is hammertoe treated?

The podiatrists at West Suburban Podiatry use a transparent treatment model to lay out a recovery plan and explain all your treatment options. Often, non-surgical treatment resolves flexible hammertoes. This may include:

  • Pads for corns and calluses
  • Splinting to correct toe positioning
  • Footwear changes
  • Custom orthotics to correct internal foot imbalances
  • Oral anti-inflammatory medications
  • Corticosteroid injections 

If you have a rigid hammertoe, you could need surgery. Your podiatric surgeon at West Suburban Podiatry can expertly correct the joint contracture, often fusing the joint to prevent future abnormal contraction. 

If your hammertoe rubs against your shoes, makes it hard to walk, or makes you feel awful about your feet, it's time to contact West Suburban Podiatry. Call the office or schedule online today.