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Hammertoe Specialist

Universal Footcare

Neha J. Pathak, DPM

Podiatrist & Foot Surgeon located in Chelsea, New York, NY

If you wear close-toed shoes or participate in high-impact sports like running or dancing, you’re more likely to develop a hammertoe. When left untreated, a hammertoe can get progressively worse, resulting in pain and keeping you from your favorite activities. At Universal Footcare in Chelsea, Manhattan, board-certified podiatrist Neha Pathak, DPM, has extensive experience diagnosing and treating hammertoe. To schedule an appointment at the New York City-based practice, call the office or book online today.

Hammertoe Q & A

What is a hammertoe?

A hammertoe is a common foot abnormality that causes an imbalance between the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in your feet. Ultimately, the imbalance prevents your toe from staying straight, causing it to curl under or look arched.

Over time, a hammertoe can negatively affect your mobility and quality of life. Fortunately, there are several treatments that can provide relief and encourage healing.

What are the symptoms of a hammertoe?

The most obvious symptom of a hammertoe is an abnormal bend in the middle joint of your second, third, or fourth toe. 

As the condition gets worse, you might find it difficult to straighten your toe. Your affected toe might also develop corns or calluses from rubbing against the inside of your shoes.

Who is at risk of experiencing a hammertoe?

Hammertoes affect all types of people. Certain factors may increase your risk, including:

  • Being middle-aged or older
  • Being a woman 
  • Having a second toe that’s abnormally long
  • Having arthritis or diabetes

You’re also more likely to experience a hammertoe if you play high-impact sports or wear ill-fitting shoes with a narrow or tight toe box.

How is a hammertoe diagnosed?

To diagnose a hammertoe, Dr. Pathak carefully examines your foot and affected toe. Usually, a visual exam is enough to pinpoint the underlying cause. 

If necessary, she might also order X-rays to further evaluate the bones and joints in your feet.

How is hammertoe treated?

Treatment for a hammertoe depends on the severity of your symptoms and their effects on your quality of life. Whenever possible, Dr. Pathak recommends conservative, integrative measures of care.

For example, if you wear tight shoes or high heels regularly, you might benefit from wearing roomier shoes or custom orthotics. You can purchase orthotics at the office.

Dr. Pathak might also recommend at-home exercises like curling your toes or crumpling a towel between your toes. These exercises can stretch and strengthen your toe muscles.

If conservative treatments don’t ease your symptoms, surgical intervention may be necessary. During hammertoe surgery, Dr. Pathak carefully releases the tendon that prevents your toe from staying straight. She might also need to remove a piece of bone to straighten your toe.

To learn more about the treatment options for hammertoe, schedule an appointment at Universal Footcare. Call the office or book online today.