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Hammertoes Specialist

InStride Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Center

Zachary Nellas, DPM

Podiatrist & Foot and Ankle Surgeon located in Charlotte, NC

Hammertoe is a progressive foot deformity that prevents your toes from pointing straight. At InStride Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, Zachary Nellas, DPM, and his team provide a number of treatments to relieve the symptoms of hammertoes and manage the progression of the condition. To speak with Dr. Nellas about your hammertoe, call or book an appointment online today.

Hammertoes Q & A

What is hammertoe?

Hammertoe is a deformity that causes abnormal bending of your toes. Hammertoe can affect one or more of your smaller toes and causes your toes to point downward like a hammer. During the early stages, hammertoes remain flexible and can be effectively managed through conservative measures. Over time, if the hammertoe is left untreated, the affected toe becomes stiff and rigid, and typically requires surgical treatment. 

What causes hammertoe?

In most cases, hammertoe is caused by imbalances of the muscles and tendons in your toe. This imbalance gradually affects the stability of your foot and causes your toes to contract. Wearing high heels or shoes that crowd your feet can also lead to hammertoe. Injuries like breaking or severely stubbing your toe can increase your risk of developing hammertoe. 

What are the symptoms of hammertoe?

Abnormal bending at the joint of one or more of your toes is a tell-tale sign of hammertoe. In some cases, it may be difficult to move the affected toes without pain. Without treatment, hammertoe continues to worsen and can result in a permanent deformity. Many people with hammertoes also experience other types of foot deformities like bunions. 

If you experience symptoms, the foot and ankle specialists at InStride Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Center provide accurate diagnoses and individualized treatment plans. The goal of hammertoe treatment is to relieve your pain and prevent the condition from progressing.   

How is hammertoe treated?

There are a number of conservative treatments used to effectively manage hammertoe. 

Depending on your condition, Dr. Nellas may recommend:

  • Padding
  • Footwear changes
  • Custom orthotics
  • Therapeutic exercises

Wearing proper footwear and avoiding high-heeled or narrow shoes can help relieve your foot pain. If your hammertoe causes corns or calluses, Dr. Nellas may prescribe pads to help you avoid irritation. If your condition doesn’t improve with conservative treatment, you may need surgery. Dr. Nellas performs hammertoe surgery to correct your tendon and muscle imbalance, and straighten your affected toes. To find out which treatment is right for your condition, call InStride Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Center or book an appointment online today.