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Hammer Toes Specialist

Matthew F. Wachtler, DPM -  - Podiatrist

Cedar Grove Foot & Ankle Specialists

Matthew F. Wachtler, DPM

Podiatrist & Foot and Ankle Surgeon located in Cedar Grove, NJ

When you have hammertoe, the middle joint in your toe gets stuck in a bent position. This makes your toes look like tiny tents from the side — but the appearance is just one issue. Untreated, hammertoe can also cause discomfort and even difficulty walking. At Cedar Grove Foot & Ankle Specialists in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, dedicated board-certified podiatrist Matthew Wachtler, DPM, offers highly effective hammertoe treatments to restore your comfort and appearance. Schedule an appointment online or by phone today.

Hammer Toes Q&A

What are hammertoes?

A hammertoe is a proximal interphalangeal joint (PIP) contraction. Because this joint's in the middle of your toe, the contraction forces that part of your toe up to make an inverted "V" in one or more of your little toes. 

Flexible hammertoe

Flexible hammertoe means a developing hammertoe. With flexible hammertoe, you see an obvious problem with your toe, but you can still move the PIP joint to force it flat temporarily. 

Flexible hammertoe can lead to corns and calluses where your toe rubs against your shoe. You may also have pain in the ball of your foot, at the base of the affected toe.

Rigid hammertoe

Rigid hammertoe is advanced hammertoe, meaning your PIP joint is locked in its abnormal position. When you have rigid hammertoe, you may also have irregular walking patterns and balance issues along with all the other issues associated with hammertoe. 

If you come into Cedar Grove Foot & Ankle Specialists as soon as you notice a developing hammertoe, you can prevent its progression into the more serious rigid hammertoe.

Why do hammertoes happen?

The causes of hammertoe can include:

  • Heredity
  • Abnormal muscle balance in your toes
  • Foot trauma
  • Pressure from bunions
  • Tight shoes 

You might be more vulnerable to hammertoe if you're older, female, have a long second toe, or have a chronic disease like diabetes or arthritis.

How do you straighten a hammertoe?

The only way to straighten a hammertoe safely is to see a board-certified podiatrist right away. Dr. Wachtler treats both flexible and rigid hammertoes at the Cedar Grove Foot & Ankle Specialists office, customizing treatment for the type of hammertoe you have and your needs.

With flexible hammertoe, Dr. Wachtler may recommend special exercises to minimize muscle imbalance in your toes. He may suggest padding to protect your toe and keep it flat.

Custom orthotics, placed in the front part of your shoe, can control your foot function and prevent hammertoe from worsening. 

If you have rigid hammertoe, Dr. Wachtler can perform outpatient surgery to remove the bony prominence, restore tendon alignment, and rebalance muscles. Hammertoe surgery rarely requires significant downtime.

Do you have a developing or already-prominent hammertoe? You can count on Cedar Grove Foot & Ankle Specialists for help. Call the office or schedule with online booking anytime.