Hammertoe Treatment and Surgery

What are hammertoes?
Hammertoes are toes that have become contracted and painful, and have developed bursae, corns, abscesses, ingrown toe nails, tendonitis, subluxations, and/or angular deformities. Because of a muscular imbalance, the tendons on the bottom of the toes work harder to grip the ground, which in turn causes the tops of the toe joint to pop up and rub on shoes causing pain.

What causes hammertoes?
This condition may be congenital or developmental and surgery is required in more severe cases. In congenital cases, the abnormal development of the bones, skin or insertion of the tendon produces an abnormally positioned toe.

In developmental cases, each step of an unstable foot causes the toes to over exert themselves trying to help stabilize the foot during walking. This produces a muscular imbalance with progressive shortening of the flexor tendons (the deforming force) and the extensor tendons (the holding force). The result is an angular positioned toe that rubs in the shoe and causes pain.

What is the treatment for hammertoes?
Surgical treatment of hammertoes may produce a straight stable toe and
help avoid rubbing against the shoes. By reducing or lengthening the contracted tendons and joint capsule and removing a piece of the joint when prominent, there is more room. Absorbable pins or metal pins may be required to stabilize the toe during the healing process.