Hammer Toe

Up to 3% of Americans 21 and older have a hammertoe that affects their mobility and quality of life. At The Frazier Foot and Ankle Center in Spring, Texas, experienced podiatrist Michael Frazier, DPM, has more than 10 years of experience treating hammertoes with both conservative and surgical methods. Call The Frazier Foot and Ankle Center today to schedule treatment for a hammer toe or book your appointment online.

My middle toe won’t lie flat, does that mean I have a hammertoe?

Probably. A hammertoe is a structural abnormality that occurs when there’s an imbalance between the muscles and ligaments that hold your toe straight. That imbalance causes an abnormal bend in one of your toe joints, causing it to stay in a hook or hammerhead-like position.

A hammertoe won’t necessarily prevent you from walking or exercising, but without treatment, it can increase the risk of calluses, blisters, and other more serious issues.

What are the symptoms of a hammertoe?

Hammertoe symptoms include:

  • A stiffened joint in your toe
  • Pain at the top of your toe
  • Redness and inflammation
  • A burning sensation
  • Corns, calluses, or blisters on top of the toe
  • Swelling
  • Open sores

Hammertoes worsen over time. Treatment can restore your toe’s range of motion and reduce the risk of complications.

How does a podiatrist diagnose a hammertoe?

The Frazier Foot and Ankle Center providers review your medical records, ask about your symptoms, and examine your toe. They check your skin for redness and swelling, look for blisters and calluses, and carefully move your toe to see how the joints react.

Next, your provider orders X-rays to get a closer look at your toe bones and toe joints. They might also order neurological testing if you have diabetes and they suspect it’s the cause of your tendon imbalance.

How does a podiatrist treat a hammertoe?

The providers at The Frazier Foot and Ankle Center treat hammertoes using a conservative approach. They might suggest:

  • Prescription footwear
  • Custom orthotics
  • Taping your toes to support the muscles and tendons
  • Wearing insulated padding around the hammer toe to reduce pressure
  • Corticosteroid shots to relieve pain and reduce inflammation

Your provider might recommend surgery if your hammertoe affects your mobility or keeps you off your feet. During surgery, they realign your toe joints and insert a small metal pin to hold your toe in the proper position.

Is there any way to prevent a hammertoe?

There are several things you can do to reduce the risk of a hammertoe. The Frazier Foot and Ankle Center recommends wearing comfortable shoes that provide plenty of room for your toes and strengthening your toe muscles with regular at-home exercises.