If you wear shoes that crowd your toes, or you participate in high-impact activities like ballet or rock climbing, you’re also more likely to experience hammer toes. At Performance Footcare of New York, PC, board-certified podiatrist Bryon Butts, DPM, boasts extensive experience treating hammer toes with conservative measures as well as minimally invasive surgery. To make an appointment at the practice in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, or Lake Success, New York, call the nearest office today or schedule online.

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What are hammer toes?

A hammer toe occurs when there’s an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments responsible for holding your toe straight. Without intervention and treatment, the imbalance gets progressively worse, causing your toe to stay permanently bent in a hammerhead or “claw-like” position.

If you notice that one or more of your toes is bent or become increasingly difficult to move, make an appointment at Performance Footcare of New York, PC.

What are the symptoms of hammer toes?

Symptoms of hammer toes include:

  • One or more toe joints that are rigid and bent
  • Pain at the top of the affected toe (or toes)
  • Pain in the ball of your foot
  • Redness and inflammation
  • Swelling
  • Corns, calluses, or blisters

As a hammer toe progresses, you might also find it painful to stand up or place weight on your affected foot.

What causes hammer toes?

Hammer toes occur due to an imbalance in the soft tissues of your foot. This imbalance can occur for various reasons, including:

  • Genetics
  • Wearing tight or uncomfortable shoes
  • Diabetes
  • Peripheral neuropathy

You’re also more likely to develop a hammer toe if you experience trauma, like stubbing your toe or after a crush injury.

How are hammer toes diagnosed?

At Performance Footcare of New York, PC, Dr. Butts diagnoses hammer toe by examining your feet. Most hammer toes are visible to the eye and present obvious symptoms like redness and swelling. If Dr. Butts is unable to determine the severity of your hammer toe, he might also order X-rays or an MRI.

If he suspects your hammer toe is due to an underlying health problem like diabetes, he might also order laboratory screens like blood work or a nerve conduction test.

How are hammer toes treated?

At Performance Footcare of New York, PC, Dr. Butts uses conservative, noninvasive treatments to manage hammer toes, including:

  • Custom orthotics
  • Heel pads and shoe inserts
  • Corticosteroid shots
  • Over-the-counter pain medication
  • Taping
  • Insulating padding

If conservative treatments don’t provide significant relief, hammer toe surgery may be necessary. Dr. Butts performs hammer toe surgery using minimally invasive techniques. These procedures use small incisions and advanced hardware to provide quicker recovery times and long-lasting outcomes.

To learn more about the treatment options for hammer toes, make an appointment at Performance Footcare of New York, PC, by calling the nearest office today or scheduling online.