Foot & Ankle Surgery located in Fort Worth and Weatherford, TX
Hammertoe is secondary to a muscle/tendon imbalance. The imbalance leads to a bending/contracture of the toe and eventually results in a mechanical change in the foot.
Often times hammertoes accompany bunions due a structural change of the foot. The great toe does not perform its intended function causing the lesser digits to take more weight than they are designed to take. As a result the digits contract due to the muscle/tendon imbalance.
Hammertoes can be aggravated by shoes that cause the toes to wedge/cramp in the toe box.
Hammertoes are usually promptly apparent due to the visible prominence and contracture. The surgeon will assess the reproducibility of your symptoms by moving/manipulating your forefoot as well as gently press on areas to determine any discomfort.
X-rays are usually ordered to determine the degree of the deformity and assess the changes that have occurred.
Due to the progressive (worsening) nature hammertoes do not go away and will continue to get worse over time. Despite the progressive nature some hammertoes are worse than others additionally some hammertoes never cause symptoms and/or discomfort. Thus, there is a variable degree of the symptoms as well as the pathology.
The goal of the surgeon is to create a treatment plan that is specific to the patients needs.
Treatment approaches for hammertoes are based on how long the pathology has been present and the severity of the symptoms. Conservative treatment options are aimed at easing the pain of hammertoes, but again hammertoes are progressive and the treatment will not reverse the deformity.
If non surgical treatments fail to relieve hammertoe pain, then the hammertoe becomes rigid, when the pain of a hammertoe interferes with daily activities, or when an open sore has developed surgery may be necessary. Your surgeon will select the best procedure to remove deformity and relive the pain associated with the hammertoe. Together with your surgeon consideration will be taken in regards to the extent of your deformity, number of toes involved, x-ray findings, your age, and your activity level. The recovery period will vary, depending on the procedure or other procedures performed.
Surgery is typically an outpatient procedure (day surgery) and scheduled at your convenience.
A splint or boot will be placed on your surgical foot/ankle after surgery. No weight to the surgical foot/ankle is advised until your surgeon encourages weight bearing.