A hammertoe (also known as a mallet toe) is a toe deformity that occurs when there is an imbalance in the muscles and tendons that usually hold the toe straight. It presents as an abnormal bend in the middle joint of the toe, nearest to the toenail. It most often occurs in the second, third, or fourth toe.
Many factors can contribute to the condition, including the type of shoe you wear, trauma, and even certain disease processes.
If you believe you have a hammertoe, our doctors can help by correctly diagnosing and treating the condition. We have locations throughout Southern Florida, including serving the greater Miami area. Find the office closest to you!
Doctors recommend roomier, comfortable footwear if the toe is still flexible. It may also help to wear shoe inserts or orthotic pads—these help by repositioning the toe to relieve pressure and pain.
Some simple exercises such as picking up small objects with your toes or crumpling a towel with your toes can help stretch and strengthen the muscles.
If you have tried conservative treatment without success, surgery is an option. A foot and ankle surgeon may release the tendon and possibly remove a piece of bone to help straighten the toe.
Hammertoes should be treated and corrected. At first, you may maintain flexibility in your toe, but eventually, the tendons can tighten, causing the toe to become bent permanently.
Leaving the toe untreated also puts you at risk for painful corns or calluses as shoes rub against the raised portion of the toe.
With conservative treatment options, you may not be able to reverse a hammertoe, but you can take steps to prevent it from getting worse. First, find shoes that fit correctly. Ensure the shoes you wear offer adequate toe room with low heels and are roomy and adjustable.
Aside from proper footwear, physical therapy exercises can be helpful. Exercises to help stretch and strengthen the tendons around the toe can enable hammertoe from progressing further. You can also try splints or taping the affected toe, which may help to prevent further bending.
For severe cases where conservative methods have failed to stretch out the toe, surgery is an option to flatten a hammertoe.
Foot and ankle surgeons can use different techniques depending upon the severity of the hammertoe. Options include fusion of the toe, a tendon transfer, or joint resection.
Your physician will discuss the best foot surgery option for your specific case.
If you suspect you have a hammertoe, then reach out to us at Florida Foot and Ankle Associates.
Our caring and compassionate staff will be there to support you every step of the way. From routine care to more specialized treatment, our foot specialists are trained in new methods and advanced equipment in podiatry.
We have locations throughout South Florida, including the Greater Miami Area, including Miami-Dade (Miami, Kendall, Miami Beach, Hialeah, Coral Gables), Broward County (Hollywood, Pembroke Pines), and Palm Beach County (Boca Raton)
We specialize in a variety of foot and ankle conditions including:
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