Hammer toe occurs when there is a disruption to the tendons that hold a toe in normal position. The result is a toe that has an unusual upward bend, typically at the joint nearest to the toenail. This condition most often affects the second, third, and fourth toes.
Hammer toe causes
There are a combination of factors that can cause a hammer toe. Oftentimes, wearing high-heeled shoes or shoes with a narrow toe box can force one or more toes in an unnatural position that may persist when barefoot. Jamming or breaking your toe may also increase your risk of developing hammer toe. To reduce your risk, consider avoiding shoes that are tight and have high heels or a pointed toe box.
Treatment options for hammer toe
It’s a good idea to promptly seek treatment if you begin to notice an abnormal bend in one of your toes. An early diagnosis may lead to easier treatment. If your toe still has flexibility, shoe inserts and strengthening exercises may be all that is necessary to correct a hammer toe. In more advanced cases, surgery to release the affected tendon or remove a small piece of bone may be recommended to straighten out the toe.
If you live in Greater Pittsburgh, you’re right around the corner from Orthopaedic Specialists. Our multiple easily accessible locations are led by board-certified orthopedic physicians who provide specialized care for hammer toes and other foot and ankle conditions. To schedule an appointment, contact us today.