Wearing shoes that are too tight or narrow can lead to a painful deformity known as hammertoes. At Los Angeles Institute of Foot and Ankle Surgery, the skilled podiatrists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of hammertoes. In addition to performing a physical exam of your feet, the providers use advanced imaging technologies to assess the severity of damage in your toe joints. They also provide non-surgical therapies or minimally invasive surgery to realign your toes and relieve your symptoms. Call the office in Burbank, Santa Clarita, or Northridge, California, to schedule an appointment or book a consultation online today!

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What are hammertoes?

Hammertoes are a deformity of the second, third, or fourth toes. The deformity occurs when pressure forces the toes to bend sideways at the middle joint, resembling a hammer.

Pressure on the toes most often comes from improperly fitting shoes. You might also develop hammertoes if you have a muscle imbalance that pulls the soft tissues of your toes out of alignment.

Other risk factors for hammertoe include age-related changes in the structures of your feet. Women are also more likely to develop hammertoes than men.

If you have diabetes, arthritis, or a family history of hammertoe, you may be at an increased risk for developing the condition.

When should I seek treatment for hammertoes?

You should schedule a diagnostic evaluation at Los Angeles Institute of Foot and Ankle Surgery if you have a noticeable bend in the joint of a toe.

You should also schedule a consultation if you have other hammertoe symptoms, including:

  • Corns
  • Calluses
  • Toe pain
  • Difficulty wearing shoes

If left untreated, hammertoes can become stiff and inflexible. These issues can affect your mobility and quality of life.

The Los Angeles Institute of Foot and Ankle Surgery providers offer evaluations and may request X-rays of your toes to determine the severity of your condition. They personalize a treatment plan to restore your toe alignment and ease any symptoms you have.

How are hammertoes treated?

Your treatment plan for hammertoes may initially start with changes to your footwear. You should select shoes with soft, roomy toe boxes in the proper size and avoid tight-fitting shoes and high heels.

The Los Angeles Institute of Foot and Ankle Surgery providers may also recommend straps, cushions, or non-medicated corn pads to reduce pressure on your toes. Toe exercises can keep your muscles and other soft tissues flexible and strong.

If your hammertoes are severe and inflexible, you might need surgery. Surgery involves releasing the tendons and soft tissues to realign your toes. Your surgeon may also need to straighten your toe joints to relieve pain and other symptoms.

Call the Los Angeles Institute of Foot and Ankle Surgery office nearest you to schedule a diagnostic evaluation for hammertoes or book an appointment online today.