Hammertoe is where one or more toes bend downward, pulled by contracting tendons and ligaments. Las Vegas Foot and Ankle Centers has two offices in Henderson, Nevada, where highly skilled podiatrists provide expert treatment for hammertoes. If you develop this problem, seek help before the affected hammertoe locks in place. Call your nearest Las Vegas Foot and Ankle Centers office, or book an appointment online today.
Hammertoes develop when ligaments and tendons contract, causing the middle joints of your toes to push upward. At the same time, the tips curl downward and make a claw or hammer shape. This problem can affect any of the toes except the big toe.
The hammer-like appearance of the affected toes is a clear symptom. As hammertoe worsens, the affected toes may rise and start overlapping your other toes. Other problems hammertoes can cause include corns and calluses on or between your toes, inflammation, limited toe movement, and pain near the toe joint, especially when wearing shoes. In the early stages of hammertoe development, the toe joints are still flexible but can become rigid without treatment. This makes any movement painful.
A muscle imbalance in your foot causes hammertoes. This structural difference causes your ligaments and tendons to become too tight, pulling your toes downward.
The muscle imbalance that leads to hammertoe could result from the following:
Wearing high-heeled shoes or ones with a narrow toe box can also encourage hammertoe formation.
Initial hammertoe treatment aims to reduce symptoms and improve mobility. Your Las Vegas Foot and Ankle Centers podiatrist will advise you to wear comfortable shoes with a wide toe box. They can also provide custom orthotics (individually designed supportive shoe inserts) and corn pads or splint the affected toe to keep it straight.
If these measures aren’t successful or your hammertoes become rigid and painful, you might require surgery. Options include:
A tendon transfer involves rerouting the tendon from underneath the hammertoe to the top of the toe. The repositioned tendon then pulls the hammertoe down.
Arthroplasty involves removing some of the bone from the hammertoe’s first joint. This reduces the joint’s prominence while allowing the toe to move.
Arthrodesis involves removing the entire joint and fusing the remaining bones. Your Las Vegas Foot and Ankle Centers surgeon might use a pin to hold the toe while it heals. The healed toe remains rigid but won’t be painful.
In some cases, your surgeon might lengthen a tendon that’s too short, loosening the joint behind the hammertoe so it can lie flat.
Call Las Vegas Foot and Ankle Centers or book an appointment online today for effective solutions to your painful hammertoes.