Hammertoe is an easy-to-spot foot deformity characterized by an upward bend in the middle part of the toe. Most patients with this type of foot deformity – which is usually accompanied by a callus or corn on top of the affected toe because of friction against shoes – normally see their regular doctor to get an initial assessment. If it’s determined that more advanced care is needed, you may be referred to the best hammertoe doctor in Los Angeles to see if you may benefit from any of the common hammertoe treatments discussed below.
If you can still flex the affected toe, the best hammertoe doctor in Los Angeles may simply recommend changing footwear. Generally, good shoes for hammertoe sufferers are ones with a wider and roomier toe box that provides sufficient support for the entire foot. In some instances, your foot doctor may recommend custom-made orthotics to correct imbalances caused by the misshapen toe.
With a hammertoe that’s still flexible, it may be possible to reverse the deformity with specific foot or toe exercises. Usually, exercises recommended are ones that target the extensor muscles in the foot. These are exercises that pull the affected foot upward while creating some degree of resistance. Additional exercises suggested might involve picking up marbles with your toes and similar toe-strengthening exercises.
Metatarsal Pads or Toe Splints/Wraps
Hammertoes sometimes cause pain that extends to the ball of the foot, referred to as metatarsalgia. Wearing metatarsal pads with your shoes may ease this type of hammertoe-related discomfort. Friction from hammertoe may also be eased with toe splints or wraps. Another related option a top-notch L.A. hammertoe doctor might suggest is gel-lined toe socks.
Surgical Hammertoe Correction
With hammertoes that are rigid, the best hammertoe doctor in Los Angeles is likely to recommend surgery, especially if the deformity is making it difficult to wear shoes or walk without extreme pain and toe irritation. Surgery for a non-flexible hammertoe typically involves releasing the tendon in the affected foot that’s preventing the mid-part of the toe from straightening out.
With severe rigid hammertoe, it may be necessary to remove part of the toe bone and nearby soft tissues to surgically realign the affected toe so that it flexes properly. A common procedure that may be performed by the best hammertoe doctor in Los Angeles is a joint resection. Performed via an incision made along the top of affected toe, it involves removal of the end of the toe bone. Tendons and ligaments may also need to be cut. Pins are temporarily inserted to keep the toe straight as it heals.
The best hammertoe doctor in Los Angeles is also a reliable source of information on steps you can take to prevent hammertoe and similar foot issues. If you play contact sports involving regular foot motions, for instance, you may be advised to wear footwear that provides sufficient protection against trauma and injury. Tight-fitting and excessively high-heeled shoes should also be avoided if you want to reduce your risk of developing foot problems.