Stephanie Spicer, DPM -  - Podiatrist, Foot & Ankle Medicine and Surgery

Foot & Ankle Group

Stephanie Spicer, DPM

Podiatrist, Foot & Ankle Medicine and Surgery located in Olympia Fields, IL

Hammertoes are a common foot deformity that causes abnormal bending in your toes. At Foot & Ankle Group in Olympia Fields, Illinois, board-certified podiatrist Stephanie Spicer, DPM, and her team offer a number of safe and effective treatments for hammertoe. To speak with a specialist about your foot health, schedule your visit by phone or online today.

Hammertoes Q & A

What are the symptoms of hammertoe?

Hammertoe causes abnormal bending at the joints of one or more of your toes. If you suffer from hammertoe, you may notice a number of additional symptoms, including:

  • Pain or irritation (especially when wearing shoes)
  • Redness 
  • Inflammation
  • Corns and calluses

The symptoms of hammertoe can interfere with your daily life. Hammertoe is a progressive deformity that typically gets worse over time. As the condition progresses, the affected toe loses its flexibility and becomes more rigid. If left untreated, the abnormal bending caused by hammertoe can become permanent. 

What causes hammertoe?

Most cases of hammertoe are caused by an imbalance to the muscles and tendons in your toes. This imbalance results in instability that causes your toes to bend abnormally. 

Hammertoe can also be caused by shoes that crowd your toes (like high heels) and foot injuries. Because hammertoe does not improve on its own, it’s important to receive an accurate diagnosis and the appropriate care. Early detection and treatment of hammertoe can help you avoid the need for surgery. 

How is hammertoe diagnosed?

To diagnose your condition, your doctor begins with a thorough examination of your foot. During the physical exam, your doctor checks for stiffness, contracture of your toes, and other abnormalities. Your doctor may also perform imaging tests like an X-ray to get a detailed look at your bones and joints. Once you’ve been diagnosed, your doctor works with you to determine the most effective treatment for your condition. 

What treatments are available for hammertoe?

Treatment depends on the severity of your deformity. If your condition is mild and the affected toe is still flexible, your doctor may recommend conservative treatments like:

  • Footwear changes
  • Padding
  • Orthotics
  • Splinting
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

The goal of conservative treatment is to relieve the pressure on your toes and eliminate your pain. If your condition is severe or doesn’t improve with conservative treatment, you may need surgery. As a board-certified podiatric surgeon, Dr. Spicer has extensive experience performing a number of foot and ankle procedures. 

To find out which treatment is right for your hammertoe, call Foot & Ankle Group or book an appointment online today.