Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.

Hammertoe Specialist

Arcadia Foot and Ankle

Podiatry located in Scottsdale, AZ, Mesa, AZ & Sun City, AZ

An abnormal bend in one or more of your toes may be a sign of a hammertoe, a common foot problem that worsens without proper treatment. The team of highly trained podiatrists treats hammertoes at Arcadia Foot and Ankle, with locations in Scottsdale, Mesa, and Sun City, Arizona. If you think you have a hammertoe, don’t hesitate to call or book an appointment online today.

Hammertoe Q & A

What is a hammertoe?

A hammertoe is a foot deformity that causes an abnormal bend (contracture) in the middle joint of your second, third, or fourth toes. When the bend occurs in the joint closest to your toenail, the condition is called a mallet toe.

At first, hammertoes are flexible and often improve with nonsurgical treatment. But if left untreated, hammertoes grow progressively worse and may become rigid. The only way to correct a hammertoe that’s no longer flexible is with surgery.

What are symptoms of hammertoe?

The most obvious symptom of a hammertoe or mallet toe is a bend in the toe. Other common hammertoe symptoms include:

  • Pain in the affected toe that worsens when wearing shoes
  • Corns and calluses on or in between the toes
  • Redness and swelling

Severe cases of hammertoe may cause open sores to develop where the toe rubs against your shoe.

What causes hammertoe?

An imbalance in the muscles and tendons of your foot is the most common cause of hammertoe. This imbalance leads to instability, which may cause your toe to bend. Wearing certain shoes, including high heels and shoes with a narrow toe box, may aggravate this condition.

Less common causes of hammertoe include previous foot injuries, like a stubbed or broken toe, and inherited differences in the structure of your foot.

How is hammertoe diagnosed and treated?

To diagnose your hammertoe, the team thoroughly reviews your symptoms and medical history. They perform a physical exam of your foot, which may include X-rays to evaluate the structure of your foot.

Then, they develop an individualized treatment plan that’s best suited to your specific condition. Hammertoes that are still flexible may improve with simple treatments, including:

  • Wearing comfortable shoes that have a roomy toe box and heels lower than two inches
  • Wearing custom orthotic devices to control the muscle and tendon imbalance
  • Oral or injectable anti-inflammatory medications
  • Splinting or strapping the affected toe

If your toe has become rigid, or if pain and symptoms persist despite treatment, the team may recommend surgery.

Hammertoes are easiest to treat in their early stages. If you suspect you have a hammertoe, call Arcadia Foot and Ankle or book an appointment online today.