Some people are born with a toe that bends downward in a hammer-like shape. Referred to as hammertoe, this deformity is more likely to develop over time, often because of a toe-related injury or underlying conditions like arthritis. Habits such as wearing tight-fitting shoes can also contribute to toe joint damage. If this deformity is severe or causing chronic pain, a referral may be made to the best hammertoe clinic in Los Angeles for treatment.
The first thing that happens when you visit the best hammertoe clinic in Los Angeles, or any other facility specializing in this type of foot care, is a full evaluation of the affected toe. In addition to a physical examination, diagnosis of hammertoe may also involve X-rays or other types of image tests. This is likely to be done if it’s suspected that other parts of the affected foot may be damaged as well. Some individuals with this deformity also have related issues with corns and calluses that need to be examined during the process of making an initial diagnosis and determining the most appropriate treatment option.
Treating Hammertoe at the Best Hammertoe Clinic in Los Angeles
If symptoms are mild or moderate, the suggested treatment may involve wearing toe pads, using custom orthotics to provide better foot/toe support, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to minimize swelling and improve comfort around the affected toe. Related bunions, corns, and/or calluses are usually treated with medication. As long as the affected toe isn’t fully rigid, initial treatment efforts may also include:
- Foot and toe exercises
- Medical tape or splints
- A special strap placed where the toe is bent downward
- Toe socks that are gel-lined
Performing Corrective Surgery
If it’s not possible to flex the affected toe, the recommended treatment at the best hammertoe clinic in Los Angeles will likely be surgery. The most common procedure performed involves the cutting or “release” of the tendon that’s attached to the affected toe joint. With a severe deformity, damaged bone and tissue within or around the affected toe may be surgically removed to allow the toe to flex and move properly. When bones are removed, it’s usually necessary to insert pins for a brief period of time to allow tissues to heal while retaining the toe and foot’s correct alignment. Recommended follow-up care often includes:
- Wearing a special shoe and/or soft, supportive socks to minimize toe irritation
- Performing gentle stretches and exercises as the toe heals and regains its flexibility
- Using a crutch if there is a need to keep pressure off of the affected toe during the recovery period
Successful surgery at the best hammertoe clinic in Los Angeles often reduces the risk of developing this deformity in the same foot again. Even so, there is always the chance of having issues with other foot or ankle problems at some point, To reduce this risk, specialists at a first-rate clinic are usually more than happy to offer patients advice on how to keep feet, toes, and ankles healthy. A common recommendation is to be mindful of footwear selections, especially with anything that may cramp toes or throw off the natural alignment of foot bones and soft tissues.