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Anatomy of Hammertoe

Hammertoe occurs due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally keep the toe straight. This imbalance leads to the abnormal bending of the middle joint of the affected toe. Over time, the toe can become rigid and fixed in this position, making it challenging to wear certain types of shoes and engage in physical activities comfortably.

Causes and Risk Factors

Several factors can contribute to the development of hammertoe:

  • Footwear: Wearing tight, narrow, or high-heeled shoes can force the toe into a bent position and increase the risk of hammertoe.
  • Genetics: A family history of hammertoe can indicate a genetic predisposition to the condition.
  • Foot Structure: Certain foot shapes and structures, such as flat feet or high arches, can make hammertoe more likely.
  • Injury: Trauma to the toe, such as a stub or fracture, can lead to hammertoe.
  • Arthritis: Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis can cause joint damage and contribute to the development of hammertoe.


Hammertoe can cause a range of symptoms, including:

  • A bent appearance of the toe
  • Pain in the affected toe, especially when wearing shoes or walking
  • Thickened skin that forms due to friction and pressure on the toe
  • Inflammation around the affected joint
  • Difficulty moving the toe, which may become rigid and fixed in place

Diagnostic Process

Diagnosing hammertoe involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and imaging tests:

  • Medical History: Discussing your symptoms, footwear habits, and any family history of foot problems with your healthcare provider.
  • Physical Examination: Assessing the alignment and flexibility of the affected toe.
  • Imaging Tests: X-rays may be used to determine the extent of the deformity and to check for any underlying bone issues.

Treatment Options

Conservative Care

For mild to moderate cases of hammertoe, non-surgical treatments can help manage symptoms and prevent further progression. Changing your footwear is often the first step in conservative care. Opt for shoes with a roomy toe box, low heels, and good arch support to alleviate pressure on the affected toe. Additionally, using orthotic devices can help redistribute weight and provide better foot alignment.

Surgical Treatment: Hammertoe Correction

When conservative treatments do not provide sufficient relief, and the hammertoe is causing significant pain or impairment, surgery may be necessary. At Excel Health, we offer hammertoe correction, a surgical procedure designed to correct the deformity and restore normal toe alignment. During hammertoe correction, the surgeon will realign the toe by adjusting the tendons and ligaments or removing part of the bone to straighten the joint.

Our surgical team at Excel Health uses advanced techniques to ensure minimal recovery time and optimal outcomes. Hammertoe correction aims to relieve pain, improve overall function, and enhance your quality of life.

Living with Hammertoe

Managing hammertoe involves a combination of appropriate footwear, lifestyle adjustments, and medical care. Regular follow-ups with your healthcare provider, adhering to recommended treatments, and making healthy choices can help you maintain an active lifestyle and reduce hammertoe-related discomfort.

If you experience symptoms of hammertoe, contact Excel Health for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan. Our dedicated team is here to support you every step of the way, ensuring you receive the highest quality care for your feet.

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