in New York City
Hammertoe surgery is designed to correct a defect in the second, third, fourth, or fifth toe. There are multiple types of hammertoe deformities, termed “mallet toe,” “claw toe,” and “Hammertoe,” depending on which of the toe joints are involved.
This surgery is typically performed to alleviate pain and improve the flexibility of the toe(s), allowing them to straighten and function optimally.
Surgery is the only option for rigid hammertoe (when the toe can not be manually straightened); however, in some cases, the toe can be manipulated (flexible hammertoe), and manual therapy can help this condition.
What Causes Hammertoe?
Hammertoe is a toe deformity caused by an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that usually keep the toe straight when relaxed. The following circumstances can lead to this condition:
- Many hammertoe cases stem from wearing high heels or tight shoes. This can cause too much pressure on your toes, and over time the toe muscles weaken and cease to function correctly.
- Rheumatoid arthritis and other similar medical conditions can contribute to hammertoe development by causing progressive deterioration in the joints of the feet.
- Chronic nerve damage resulting from diabetes and muscle imbalance due to stroke or spinal cord injury can also decrease normal function in feet, resulting in hammertoe.
Chelsea Foot and Ankle in New York City provides effective surgical options to treat rigid hammertoe and non-surgical treatment for flexible hammertoe to restore function and alleviate pain.
How Do I Know if I Have Hammertoe?
The telltale signs of hammertoe include the following:
One or more toes bend upward at the first “knuckle” joint of the toe, also known as the PIP joint.
Blisters or calluses have formed in the spot(s) where your toe(s) rub against your shoes.
Pain at the base of the toe joint.
Why Choose Chelsea Foot and Ankle
To Treat Your Hammertoe?
Our team members respect our patients as well as their time and work hard to create and execute customized treatment plans that meet their unique needs.
When you choose Chelsea Foot and Ankle as your provider, you can expect to be treated like family and the VIP you are. Because of our commitment to you, we offer comprehensive podiatry care at reasonable prices with friendly staff ready to help with any questions or billing issues.
What Are Your Non-Surgical Hammertoe Treatment Options?
For flexible hammertoe, there are several approaches the doctor may take while making specific recommendations for you to follow.
- Manually mobilizing the toe(s)
- Splinting or taping the toe(s) in the correct position with padding to cushion them.
- Custom orthotics with forefoot modifications that can help slow the progression of the hammertoe deformities.
- We will show you how to stretch your toes properly.
- We will instruct you to use ice to decrease pain and swelling while reducing inflammation.
- We will encourage you to avoid wearing high heels and instead to wear looser, comfortable shoes sized to be at least one half-inch longer than your longest toe.
- We will prescribe a variety of foot, toe, and calf stretches to help your toes regain their normal mobility and function.
- Strengthening exercises, like using your toes to pick up items from the floor, can also help.
What if You Need Hammertoe Surgery?
Choosing the proper method for hammertoe correction is crucial in achieving the most successful outcome.
At Chelsea Foot and Ankle in Manhattan, we use a combination of diagnostic tools that include obtaining an in-depth medical history, performing a thorough examination, and ordering the appropriate imaging techniques to get a clear picture of your particular condition.
This attention to the finest details of your individual case will determine the surgical procedure(s) we will use to treat your hammertoe.
Some of these procedures include:
- Joint resection (Arthroplasty) – With this surgery, our surgeon will cut the constricted ligaments and tendons to release the joint. A small portion of bone needs to be removed in order to straighten the joint, and you may require a temporary pin to be put in place to prevent the toe from moving. Pins are typically removed a few weeks following the procedure.
- Fusion (Arthrodesis) – Fusion surgery is another solution to straighten the toe and relieve pain. The surgeon will perform a joint resection and remove the ends of the bones to prepare them to grow together (fuse). Pins are one way to help the joint remain stable after surgery and they are removed when the joint has completed the fusion process. Our surgeons often prefer to use joint implants to fuse toe joints. This leads to better long-term success and, in our experience, allows our patients to get back into closed shoes, sneakers, and resume normal activities faster.
Ultimately, after being fully informed by our surgeon, it is up to you to decide on any surgical treatment option. We respect your autonomy and even your choice to obtain a second opinion.
How Can You Prevent Hammertoe?
Properly fitting footwear is the best way to prevent hammertoes. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, nerve damage, or a history of hammertoe, the following tips can help you reduce your risks.
- Avoid high heels
- Wear shoes that are comfortable and fit properly
- Exercise your feet
- Occasionally, pick up small objects with your toes to keep your feet and toes as flexible as possible
Your New York City Podiatrist for Hammertoe Treatment
Whether you have flexible hammertoe and require only conservative treatment or rigid hammertoe that needs surgery, you can trust the doctors at Chelsea Foot and Ankle.
We also treat the following conditions:
Our Patients Love Us
An absolutely amazing experience. Dr. Ciment is an absolutely wonderful person – it is very evident that he truly cares about his patients.S T.
I really, really like Dr. Ciment. He is a skilled surgeon with a really wonderful bedside manner — something you rarely find. He treated me a few years ago when I had a broken foot, and then again in Sept 2014 for surgery on the other foot. While surgery is never fun, Dr. Ciment made it pretty easy.Krista B.