Hammertoe Specialist

Yavapai Foot and Ankle Center -  - Podiatry

Yavapai Foot and Ankle Center

Podiatry & Foot and Ankle Surgery located in Prescott, AZ

Hammertoe is a structural abnormality that affects about 3% of the adult population. Over time, it causes changes to the soft tissues in your toes, resulting in pain, stiffness, and immobility. At Yavapai Foot and Ankle Center, Todd Cox, DPM, and Blake Peterson, DPM, provide comprehensive care for hammertoes. To schedule an appointment at the Prescott, Arizona, practice, call to speak with a member of the administrative staff or book online today.

Hammertoe Q & A

What is hammertoe?

Hammertoe is a degenerative condition that causes an imbalance in the tendons, ligaments, and muscles that help hold your toe straight. Several factors contribute to hammertoe, including your foot structure, the type of shoes you wear, and underlying health problems like arthritis. 

Hammertoe occurs gradually over an extended period. As the soft tissues in your toes weaken, the middle joint of your affected toe bends and locks. 

Mild cases of hammertoe typically respond to conservative treatments. However, if the joint no longer bends, surgical intervention may be necessary.

What are the symptoms of hammertoe?

The most obvious symptom of hammertoe is an abnormal bend in the middle joint of one (or several) toes. Over time, the joint swells and stiffens, making it difficult to move or stand on for long periods. 

Hammertoe also increases your risk of corns and calluses. The unusual position of your toe can cause it to rub against your socks and shoes.

Who is at risk of experiencing hammertoe?

Hammertoe is a common problem that affects people of all races and genders. Certain factors may increase your risk, including:

  • Being middle-aged or older
  • Having an abnormally long second toe
  • A history of jamming or breaking your toe
  • Wearing high heels or other shoes with a tight toe box

You’re also more likely to develop a hammertoe if you’re living with a chronic medical condition like diabetes or arthritis.

How is hammertoe diagnosed?

To diagnose hammertoe, the Yavapai Foot and Ankle Center team reviews your health history, asks about your symptoms, and physically examines your feet and toes. Because hammertoe changes the alignment of your toe, it’s easy to identify.

If your podiatrist suspects an underlying problem, like a fracture or dislocated joint, they might also order X-rays to assess the condition of the bones in your feet and toes.

How is hammertoe treated?

Treatment for hammertoe depends on the severity of your symptoms and their effect on your daily life. If you have a mild or moderate bend in your toe, Yavapai Foot and Ankle Center might recommend conservative treatments like changing into roomier, more comfortable shoes, wearing custom orthotics, or stretching and strengthening your toe muscles.

If these measures don’t provide relief, your podiatrist might recommend surgical intervention. During hammertoe surgery, your provider releases the tendon preventing your toe from lying flat. If necessary, they might also remove a small piece of your toe bone.

To receive treatment for hammertoe, request an appointment at Yavapai Foot and Ankle Center. Call to speak with a member of the administrative staff or book online today.