Hammer Toe Specialist

McElvin Pope, DPM

Podiatrist located in Brooklyn, NY, MidTown, Manhattan, NY & Queens, Long Island City, NY

Hammertoe symptoms are mild at first, but without treatment, pain develops, and your toe becomes permanently stuck in a bent position. Dr. McElvin Pope in New York City has years of experience successfully treating hammertoe with conservative measures, but that’s only possible with early treatment. If you wait too long, you’ll need his surgical expertise to correct the problem. If you have questions about hammertoe, call Dr. Pope’s Manhattan office or use online booking to schedule an appointment.

Hammer Toe Q & A

What is hammertoe?

Hammertoe is a deformity that may develop in the joints of all the toes except your big toe. It occurs when the toe is forced to bend, with the tip of the toe turning downward rather than its usual position pointing forward.

An imbalance in the muscles and tendons that bend and straighten the toe causes the deformity. When a toe becomes forced into a bent position for an extended time, the muscles tighten. As a result, it’s hard for the opposing tendon to straighten the toe.

What causes hammertoe?

Some people genetically inherit a tendency to develop hammertoe, and you may also be at a higher risk if you’ve suffered a toe injury.

Hammertoe is often attributed to:

  • The second toe more extended than the big toe
  • Shoes that cramp your toes
  • Joint instability
  • Inflammatory joint disease
  • Neuromuscular conditions

What are the symptoms of hammertoe?

Hammertoe causes one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Pain when wearing shoes
  • Corns and calluses
  • Inflammation
  • Burning sensation
  • Permanent toe contracture (toe won’t straighten)

How is hammertoe treated?

Hammertoe doesn’t get better on its own; in fact, without treatment, it worsens over time. When it first develops, the bent toe is still flexible, and Dr. Pope can treat it with conservative measures such as:

  • Splinting to realign the toe
  • Orthotics to alleviate pressure and restore muscle balance
  • Shoe padding to prevent irritation to the bent toe
  • Exercises or physical therapy to stretch muscles and tendons
  • Orthopedic shoes with a larger toe box and proper length
  • Injections or topical medication to reduce inflammation and relieve pain

If your hammertoe goes untreated, the toe becomes rigid, with the muscle stuck in a shortened and tightened position. As a result, your toe remains in a bent position. Once hammertoe reaches this stage, Dr. Pope must perform surgery to fix the problem.

As an expert surgeon, Dr. Pope is skilled in several surgical techniques to repair hammertoe. For example, he may perform a bone fusion, tendon transfer, or joint resection, depending on your condition.

If you notice your toe staying in an abnormally bent position, call or schedule an appointment online to begin treatment.