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Hammer Toe Specialist

Albuquerque Associated Podiatrists

Board Certified Foot and Ankle Surgeons located in Albuquerque, NM & Santa Fe, NM

When you look at your toes, do you have one that curls downward instead of lying flat? This is a hammertoe and can be caused by ill-fitting footwear. Luckily the board-certified podiatrists at Albuquerque Associated Podiatrists in Albuquerque, New Mexico, are experts at treating hammertoe with effective conservative or surgical therapies. Call the office or schedule an appointment online if you are concerned about hammertoe.

Hammer Toe Q & A

What is hammertoe?

Hammertoe is a condition in which a misaligned toe curls downward at the middle joint instead of lying flat. The toe is shaped like a hammer – hence the name.

Usually, hammertoe shows up in the second, third, or fourth toe and develops when your shoes fit improperly. Always wear shoes that give your toes plenty of room to spread and flex. If your toes are crowded, they can’t lie flat and hammertoe can develop.

With hammertoe, your toes’ muscles and connective tissues “forget” how to stretch out properly. Other causes of hammertoe include arthritis and foot injuries.

How do I know I have hammertoe?

If your toe has changed in appearance to resemble a hammer, it’s likely hammertoe. At first, before hammertoe fully sets in, your toe is still flexible. You can move it at the joint and straighten it, even if it seems to bend abnormally. As the condition becomes more permanent, the toe becomes rigid and the bend at the joint isn’t moveable.

A hammertoe is often red, swollen, and painful. You will be most aware of it when you wear shoes. The bent toe is more likely to rub against your shoes, so they develop corns and calluses and can cause pain in the ball of your foot.

At Albuquerque Associated Podiatrists, the doctors can help anytime you notice a change in the appearance or alignment of your toes. It’s best to alert the team when you first notice symptoms. Early treatment leads to a better outcome.

How is hammertoe treated?

In its early stages, hammertoe responds to conservative treatment. The podiatrists will recommend:

  • Comfortable, supportive, wide shoes
  • Toe exercises and stretches
  • Custom-made orthotics (shoe inserts)
  • Cushions and pads to relieve friction
  • Filing down corns and calluses

These treatments work when the toe is still flexible. You improve the alignment in your foot and toe, reduce your pain, and prevent the hammertoe from getting worse.

Rigid and significantly painful hammertoes can require surgery to correct. This corrective procedure is minimally invasive and done on an outpatient basis. You’ll still need to schedule time to recover, reducing your activity for a time.

If you notice the signs of hammertoe, schedule an appointment at Albuquerque Associated Podiatrists online or over the phone right away. Don’t delay treatment.