Foot deformities like hammertoe can be uncomfortable and can make it hard to feel confident about the appearance of your feet. Correcting hammertoes and other foot deformities is an area of specialty for Philip Garrett, DPM, and Dong Kim, DPM, at Landmark Foot and Ankle Center in Alexandria, Virginia. If you’re concerned about the alignment of your toes, schedule an appointment to determine the cause and explore treatment options. Booking a visit takes just moments online or over the phone.

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What are hammertoes?

Hammertoe is a common foot deformity characterized by an abnormal bend of the middle joint of your toe. It’s most common in the second, third, or fourth toes.

Mallet toe is the name used to refer to an abnormal bend in the small joint closest to your toenail. Both conditions are common, and fortunately, there are treatments that can help.

The cause of hammertoes can be an abnormal balance of toe muscles, which creates instability in the foot and can cause your toe to contract back from normal positioning. A traumatic injury can also cause hammertoe to develop, as can wearing shoes that have high heels or are too tight in the toe box area.

How do I know if I have hammertoes?

An examination of the toes diagnoses many cases of hammertoe. If one or more of your toes does not seem to be in proper alignment with the rest, it’s important to visit Landmark Foot and Ankle Center for a thorough diagnostic exam.

Left untreated, hammertoes can lead to corns or calluses developing where your bent toe rubs against the inside portion of your shoes. It can also cause significant discomfort, preventing you from enjoying normal daily activities.

Are there ways to treat hammertoe?

If your podiatrist determines that hammertoe is present, you discuss all available treatment options. If the abnormally bent joint is still flexible, you may simply need to change your footwear and use special shoe inserts called orthotics to prevent the condition from worsening.

More advanced cases may respond to special strengthening and flexibility exercises. Your podiatrist explains how to go through these exercises and how often to perform them.

In some cases, the tendon that holds your toe joint into place has tightened to the point that surgical intervention is the best available option. Your podiatrist can use minimally invasive surgical techniques to release the tendon, which allows the affected toe to move back into a properly aligned position.

Minimally invasive surgery has a lower rate of complications than open surgical procedures. Because less tissue is affected, there is a reduction in bleeding, and the risk of infection is lower.

It’s even possible to remove a small piece of bone if necessary. The procedure is outpatient, so you can return home right away.

If you have questions or concerns about how to treat hammertoe or another foot deformity, call Landmark Foot and Ankle Center to set up a consultation. Online booking is fast and easy, or you are always welcome to call to check appointment availability.