A hammertoe is a deformity of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th toes in which the toe is curled or buckled due to a deformity in the joint. Mallet toes and claw toes are similar deformities, except that different joints on the toe are affected.
Toe deformities are usually genetic (hereditary) however they can be aggravated or caused by the following conditions:
- Flat Feet. This condition is due to poor biomechanics (function of the foot) and may lead to other foot deformities, including hammertoes.
- Bunions. A bunions is an abnormal prominence of the first metatarsal that pushes the toe sideways toward the smaller toes causing a hammertoe to develop.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis.
- Traumatic Injuries.
- Poorly fitted shoes can aggravate a hammertoe deformity.
- Highly arched feet.
Once a hammertoe deformity has developed, there is no other way to get rid of it with the exception of surgery. Some people develop a painful callus on the toe caused by the bony deformity, trimming this callus down will sometimes provide relief, but will not cure the underlying cause of the callus (the hammertoe, a bony deformity).
The most common surgical repair for a hammertoe deformity is called an arthroplasty. In some cases, only a tendon repair procedure is required. For more severe deformities or when more than one joint of the toe in involved, a k-wire (surgical hardware) may be utilized to help stabilize the toe while it is healing. X-rays will be taken on your first visit to determine which procedure will be the most appropriate for your condition. At that time, Dr. Ribald will discuss post operative care and recovery, and answer any questions that you may have.