Hammer Toe

St. Cloud Foot and Ankle Center

Podiatrists located in St. Cloud, MN & Paynesville, MN

A hammertoe can cause pain, blistering, difficulty walking, or an inability to wiggle your toes. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a hammertoe, the podiatrists at St. Cloud Foot and Ankle Center, with multiple locations throughout Central Minnesota, can treat you. Call the office in St. Cloud, Paynesville, Melrose, or Becker to schedule a consultation for your hammertoe symptoms, or book an appointment online.

Hammer Toe Q & A

What is a hammertoe?

A hammertoe is a deformity of the toe that causes it to curl and point downward instead of pointing forward. It usually occurs in the second or third toe -- next to the big toe -- when the middle joint of the toe becomes permanently flexed or bent downward.

Hammertoe usually develops over time due to arthritis, or as a result of long-time wearing of pointed, tight, or poorly-fitting shoes. It can also result from a high arch, a traumatic toe injury, tightening of the ligaments in the foot, or pressure from a bunion pushing the big toe inward.  

A podiatrist can treat hammertoe.

How do podiatrists treat hammertoe?

In the case of mild hammertoe, adjusting to properly fitted shoes can help, in addition to wearing toe pads or special insoles.

These help shift the toe’s position inside the shoe, which relieves pressure and the resulting pain on your hammertoe. They also help avoid blisters from forming by preventing your curled toe from rubbing against the inside of your shoe.

Your podiatrist then recommends a series of gentle stretches which can help reposition the toe and also relieve discomfort. When the hammertoe is severe, the doctor may recommend surgery.

What is involved in hammertoe surgery?

If your hammertoe can’t be corrected with non-surgical treatment, then surgery may be necessary. The condition of the hammertoe determines the type of surgery.

If the toe is still flexible, a tendon transfer will correct the problem. During this surgical procedure, the tendon is moved from the bottom of the toe to the top of the toe where it is curled. This helps straighten the curled joint.

If the hammertoe has become fixed (locked in place), then joint resection is the best surgical option.

The doctor makes the incision at the top of the toe, and restricted ligaments and tendons will be cut to allow the toe to straighten. The end of the bone is removed to allow for full straightening.

The doctor then inserts pins to temporarily keep the toe straight, which are removed a few weeks later.

Both of these types of surgery are usually done on an outpatient basis, so you will return home on the same day. Follow-up visits to the podiatrist’s office will be required.

Seek treatment right away for a painful hammertoe at any of the central Minnesota offices of St. Cloud Foot and Ankle Center. The podiatrists in the St. Cloud, Melrose, Becker, or Paynesville office can devise a treatment plan for you right away when you call or book an appointment online.