Hammertoe Specialist

Park Center Foot and Ankle Clinic

Randy E Lowe, DPM

Board Certified Podiatrist Foot & Ankle Surgeon located in Boise, ID & Meridian, ID

If you notice your toes are bending and unable to point straight, you may have developed hammertoe, a common condition that affects the structure of your foot. At Park Center Foot and Ankle Clinic in Boise and Meridian, Idaho, the team offers safe and effective treatment for people suffering from hammertoe. Led by board-certified podiatrist Randy Lowe, DPM, the practice provides both conservative and surgical treatment options. To schedule your appointment, call one of the offices or book online today.

Hammertoe Q&A

What is hammertoe?

Normally, the joints and soft tissues in your foot keep your toes aligned and pointing straight. Hammertoe is a common foot deformity that causes your toes to contract and bend at the joint. Although hammertoe starts off mild, over time, the abnormal bending worsens, causing excess pressure when wearing shoes and other complications. 

Hammertoe is typically the result of an imbalance with the muscles and tendons in your foot that causes the toes to contract. If left untreated, the affected toes become more rigid and may require surgery for effective treatment.

What are the symptoms of hammertoe?

In addition to abnormal contracture of your toes, symptoms of hammertoe include:

  • Pain or difficulty wearing shoes
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Corns or calluses

The bent toes cause pressure when wearing your normal footwear. Over time, this constant friction can cause pain and inflammation, and cause you to develop corns and calluses.

In some cases, the irritation caused by hammertoe can cause you to develop open sores. Because hammertoe is a progressive condition, it’s important to seek medical attention at the first sign of symptoms. Early detection increases your chances of successful nonsurgical treatment.  

Who gets hammertoe?

In most cases, hammertoe affects people with an abnormal imbalance of the toe muscles. Previous trauma like a broken toe can increase your chances of developing hammertoe. Wearing ill-fitting shoes can force your toes into a bent position that can persist even after you remove your shoes. 

Certain factors like age, your foot anatomy, and having underlying conditions like arthritis can increase your risk of developing hammertoe. 

How is hammertoe treated?

How your hammertoe is treated depends on the severity of your condition. If your hammertoe is still in the early stages, Dr. Lowe may recommend a number of conservative treatments to relieve your discomfort and slow down the progression of the deformity. Conservative treatment for hammertoe may include:

  • Padding
  • Footwear changes
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Orthotics

Dr. Lowe may use padding to reduce the irritation of your corns or calluses. Changing your footwear is an effective way to relieve pressure and prevent your hammertoe from worsening. In many cases, Dr. Lowe uses custom orthotics to address the muscle imbalance in your toes. 

If your hammertoe is rigid and doesn’t respond to conservative care, Dr. Lowe may recommend surgery. 

What is hammertoe surgery?

Surgery is reserved for severe cases where the hammertoe becomes rigid and painful. Advanced cases of hammertoe can cause you to develop open sores, which can jeopardize your overall foot health and mobility. 

Hammertoe surgery typically involves releasing the soft tissues that are preventing your toes from pointing straight. 

To learn more about hammertoe treatment, schedule your appointment online or call one of the offices today.