Let’s “hammer” out the facts about hammertoes

Hammertoes are one of the most common foot deformities.  The problems presented by hammertoes for people go well beyond their wardrobe.  Hammertoes actually can affect work, life, and exercise in rather profound ways.  What may start as a small corn or bump on your toe can cause severe pain and make shoes difficult. 

It’s everyone’s goal to stay active with aging, but it’s not uncommon to hear “I have to stop *** (running, golfing, tennis, etc) because of toe problems. Many of them have already tried conservative treatments like changes in footwear, pads, cushions and physical therapy, but nothing seems to work.

What are some of the non-surgical treatments that you can try?

Non-surgical treatments cannot correct a hammertoe deformity. The goal of non-surgical treatments is to prevent the progression from advancing and to eliminate pain. Here are some ideas:

– Wear comfortable shoes 

– Each week, trim or file down your calluses and corns with a pumice stone following a bath or shower.

– Apply silicone pads, toe sleeves and splints

What kinds of surgery are available?

Surgery is generally a last resort measure that is used to correct the deformity and relieve the pain. There is no single surgical procedure that is best for everyone because each patient is different. Multiple surgical procedures are available, and each one accomplishes a slightly different outcome. We as surgeons may have to mix and match procedures to tailor the best treatment for you.

Usually surgery is done on an outpatient basis with a local anesthetic and you are allowed to go home the same day. Most of the time you are permitted to walk after surgery and you are not put in a cast; however, this may not be the case if other more extensive procedures are required to correct your foot

A take home message: if there is an easy solution, we will always offer it.  However, we will always try to give you long term vision and assessment, so you can stay vital and active in  the most golden of years.

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