Hammer Toe

Brian Lee, DPM -  - Podiatrist

Southern Illinois Family Foot Care

Brian Lee, DPM

Podiatrist located in Mount Vernon, IL

Having a hammertoe stems from an imbalance in muscles, ligaments, or tendons in your toe. Because hammertoes can worsen over time, leading podiatrist Brian Lee, DPM, of Southern Illinois Family Foot Care in Mount Vernon, Illinois, offers modern, effective treatments. If you struggle with hammertoe pain, book an evaluation with Dr. Lee to see which treatments are best for you. Schedule your assessment through the online booking system, or call the office.

Hammer Toe Q & A

What is a hammertoe?

A hammertoe is a deformity that occurs when your toe muscles, ligaments, or tendons fail to keep your toe straight. As a result, your toe bends upwards at the middle joint. Mallet toe is similar, except the bend occurs at the joint nearest your toenail.

You can develop a hammertoe because of:

  • Trauma or a sports injury
  • Growth or a congenital disability
  • Family history
  • Wearing high heels or snug-fitting shoes

While hammertoes can occur on any of your toes, usually it affects the second toe, next to your big toe. You’re more likely to develop hammertoes on toes that are longer than surrounding toes.

Are hammertoes painful?

They can be. Hammertoes can be either flexible or rigid. If you can bend the toe at the affected joint, it’s considered a flexible hammertoe — if you can’t bend it, you have a rigid hammertoe. Either one can cause discomfort.

The main issue with hammertoes is that you can develop painful calluses or corns along the top of the affected toe because it’s likely to rub against the insides of your shoes. For some, hammertoes can even make the toe joint inflamed, making standing and walking incredibly painful.

How are hammertoes treated?

Dr. Lee generally starts you out with conservative treatments to see if you can get relief from hammertoe discomfort. You may benefit from:

  • Wearing shoes with more toe room
  • Applying cushioning pads to corns or calluses
  • Taping the affected toe
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medications

Many hammertoe sufferers even find that getting fitted for custom orthotics helps. Dr. Lee uses advanced Hollywood technology to capture 3D images of your foot, making your orthotics correctly provide support to reposition your affected toes and relieve pressure and pain.

Dr. Lee often teaches you exercises and stretches to help make your affected toe joint stronger and more flexible.

In severe cases, you might need hammertoe surgery. Dr. Lee uses minimally invasive techniques to release the tendon or piece of bone that’s keeping your toe in a bent position, relieving your hammertoe discomfort almost immediately after the procedure is over.

Schedule your hammertoe evaluation at Southern Illinois Family Foot Care either online or over the phone.