A hammertoe is a common condition whereby there is a contracture of one or more of the smaller toes. This is frequently treated by Dr. Lonny Nodelman in Alexandria, Virginia.
A hammertoe can be further classified depending on which joint(s) of the toe are contracted. This includes the classic hammertoe but also includes two additional conditions – a clawtoe and a mallet toe. Typically, all three conditions are thrown into the same basket and coined “hammertoe syndrome” for ease of communication.
Hammertoes can be painful because the contracture will make one or more of the toe joints more prominent. As a result, the more prominent joint has the opportunity to rub up against the shoe. The can lead to corn formation which is a thickening of the skin and these can be painful.
In rare circumstances, a corn that results from a hammertoe can actually lead to an ulceration if it becomes large enough and occurs in the setting of neuropathy. A common scenario seen is a patient with poorly controlled diabetes with neuropathy developing a hammertoe corn which can lead to an underlying ulceration which can potentially be a very dangerous situation. This must be evaluated by Dr. Nodelman on an emergent basis.
Hammertoes can be treated both conservatively and surgically. Conservative treatment includes shoe modifications (taller shoes to accommodate the contracted digit), padding, anti-inflammatories, trimming a corn down and orthotics. Surgical management is saved for cases in which a patient does not respond favorably to conservative management and there is an impact on life/difficulty finding shoes that fit/etc…
Surgical management typically involves removal of the knuckle that is contracted to produce a straighter toe.
For further information regarding hammertoes, book a consultation with Dr. Nodelman today!