Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois

Podiatrists located in Springfield, Decatur, Carlinville and Shelbyville, Illinois.

When you notice an unusual bending of one or more of your toes, you may have a condition known as hammertoe. The skilled podiatry team offers minimally invasive in-office surgery for hammertoes. Most patients return immediately to normal shoes and activities. Our podiatrists also provide conservative treatments and reconstructive surgery for more advanced cases. Don’t delay a diagnostic evaluation of hammertoe. If surgery is required, it is usually done on an out-patient basis. Minimally invasive procedures are used to minimize infection and rehabilitation is provided to foster recovery and enhance outcomes.

Hammertoe Q & A

What is hammertoe?

Hammertoe is a condition where one or more joints in your second, third, fourth, and fifth toe bend abnormally. The bending of the joint can put additional pressure on your toe, especially when you’re wearing shoes, and cause persistent pain.

The root cause of hammertoe typically relates to an imbalance in your muscles or tendons. This imbalance causes structural changes in your foot that lead to hammertoe. You may also be at increased risk for hammertoe if you have a toe that is very long and doesn’t fit properly in a shoe.

The deformity of hammertoe starts out gradually and, without treatment, can worsen over time. It’s important that you schedule a diagnostic evaluation for suspected hammertoe in the earliest stages because nonsurgical treatment can effectively treat the condition.

What are the symptoms of hammertoe?

Hammertoe can cause persistent irritation and a worsening of pain in the affected toe, especially when you’re wearing closed shoes. Other common symptoms of hammertoe include:

  • Redness
  • Inflammation
  • Noticeable bending in the toe

You may also notice that the pressure and friction from your bent toe causes calluses and corns to develop on the surrounding skin. In some cases, open sores can form that need proper medical attention.

How is hammertoe diagnosed?

Diagnosing hammertoe is often possible through a visual exam. Your Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois provider may also request X-rays to assess the severity of the bending and other structural changes that exist in the affected toe.

Because hammertoe won’t go away on its own and can progressively worsen, your provider creates a treatment plan to realign your toe and resolve your pain and other symptoms.

How is hammertoe treated?

In the earliest stages, the Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois podiatry team can often use conservative treatments to correct your condition. Noninvasive treatments include:

  • Splinting the toe
  • Using orthotic inserts
  • Wearing proper-fitting shoes
  • Applying protective pads to prevent friction

Your provider may also recommend over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories to keep you comfortable. In some cases, corticosteroid injections can alleviate pain and inflammation if medications aren’t enough.

If your hammertoe is advanced, your Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois provider may recommend surgical correction. If you plan to undergo surgery, your specialist may opt to correct other foot-related issues, like bunions or slow-healing sores, at the same time.

If you're interested in receiving treatment for your bunions,
Call Foot and Ankle Center of Illinois at (217) 787-2700 today!
We serve the following locations: Springfield, Decatur, Carlinville and Shelbyville, IL

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