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Hammer Toe Specialist

Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine

Podiatry & Sports Medicine Physicians located in Kirkland, WA

Hammertoes are a toe deformity that, if not corrected, becomes permanent. Expert podiatrists at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine, Lawrence Maurer, DPM and Peter M. Vincent, DPM, use nonsurgical and surgical therapies to help your hammertoes straighten up and function properly again. If you live in the Kirkland, Washington area contact the specialists at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine for hammertoe or mallet toe treatment today. Call the friendly and informative office staff or book a consultation online today.

Hammertoe Q & A

What are hammertoes?

Hammertoes are a toe deformity where the middle joint of your toe curves downward, like the head of a hammer. A similar deformity, called mallet toe, occurs when the top joint curves downward.

How did I get hammertoes?

Normally, the muscles in your toes work in pairs, and exert similar pressures on your toe. You get hammertoes when the muscles in your toes are thrown out of balance because of loosened tendons. The muscles on the top don’t pull up with the same amount of force that the muscles pull downward, which causes your toe to bend like a claw.

Hammertoes are usually acquired but you could have a genetic predisposition to develop them because your feet aren’t stable. If you already have flat feet (fallen arches) or a very high arch in your foot, you’re more likely to develop hammer toes.

Other risk factors for hammertoes include:

  • Aging
  • Wearing high heels
  • Wearing shoes with narrow toe boxes
  • Toe injury
  • If your second toe is longer than your big toe
  • Bunions
  • Nerve damage

You’re also more likely to develop hammertoes if you have a chronic health condition like diabetes that affects the health of your feet.

Why should I treat hammertoe?

Even if you’re not experiencing symptoms, hammertoes should be treated before your toe bones fuse and make your hammertoes permanent.  You should treat hammertoes to remedy or avoid symptoms such as:

  • Pain
  • Corns
  • Calluses
  • Difficulty walking
  • Shoes that don’t fit

The podiatrists at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine recommend effective therapies to straighten your toes.

How do podiatrists treat hammertoes?

Your Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine expert recommends different treatments based on the severity of your hammertoes. If your toes are still flexible, your podiatrist could advise:

  • Switching to flat shoes with roomy toe boxes
  • Using shoe inserts and pads to relieve pressure
  • Using custom-designed orthotics
  • Doing stretching exercises
  • Doing strengthening exercises

If your hammertoes are in danger of fusing, your podiatrist may perform an in-office surgical procedure, cutting the overly aggressive, downward-pulling tendons. Your toes then straighten out, and heal in a healthier position.

If your bones have already fused, your doctor can move part of the toe bone, correct the alignment of your toes, and hold their new position with wires while your toe heals. You should stay off your treated foot for several weeks.

To straighten your hammertoes, call Run Doctor or book a hammertoes treatment online today.