Foot & Ankle Specialists of New Mexico

Podiatrists & Foot and Ankle Surgeons located in Albuquerque, NM, Rio Rancho, NM, South Valley, NM, Edgewood, NM & Grants, NM

A hammertoe is a common foot deformity, but it won’t go away without professional treatment. The team at Foot & Ankle Specialists of New Mexico offers conservative and surgical treatments for hammertoe at their five locations in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, South Valley, Edgewood, and Grants, New Mexico. If you have a hammertoe, call the nearest office or book an appointment online today.

Hammertoes Q & A

What is hammertoe?

Hammertoe is an abnormal bend in the middle joint of your toe that results from an imbalance in the surrounding muscle tissues. When the bend occurs in the joint closest to your toenail, it’s called mallet toe. Hammertoe and mallet toe usually affects your second, third, and fourth toes. 

What causes hammertoe?

The primary cause of hammertoe is imbalance in the strength of the tendons and muscles that usually hold the toe straight. Over time, this imbalance leads to instability, which may cause the toe to contract, or bend. 

Certain factors increase your risk of getting hammertoe, including:

  • Having high arches or bunions
  • Foot trauma, including a stubbed or broken toe
  • Wearing high heels or shoes that are too tight
  • Having a second toe that’s longer than your big toe

Genetics may also play a role. People with arthritis or diabetes are more likely to develop all types of foot deformities, including hammertoe. 

What are the symptoms of hammertoe?

The most prominent hammertoe symptom is a noticeable bend in the toe. This may cause foot pain when you try to move the toe. 

Hammertoe can lead to difficulty walking and discomfort when wearing shoes. Persistent friction from a hammertoe can cause problems like corns, calluses, and blisters. 

How is hammertoe diagnosed and treated?

First, the team at Foot & Ankle Specialists of New Mexico reviews your symptoms and medical history. They carefully examine your foot to determine the root cause of the hammertoe deformity. They may also take an in-office X-ray to evaluate the extent of the contracture.

Then, your podiatrist creates a personalized treatment plan for your specific needs. This usually begins with nonsurgical treatments, which don’t correct the deformity but do relieve pain and symptoms. 

Nonsurgical hammertoe treatments include:

  • Changing footwear
  • Strapping or bracing the toe
  • Custom orthotics
  • Treating calluses

If your condition is severe, or if conservative treatments don’t adequately relieve your symptoms, your doctor may recommend surgery. All physicians at Foot & Ankle Specialists of New Mexico are board-certified foot and ankle surgeons.

Depending on your needs, surgical treatment of hammertoe may involve fusing the toe or removing a small piece of bone (arthroplasty).

For the highest-quality care of hammertoe, call Foot & Ankle Specialists of New Mexico or book an appointment online today.