The What, Why and How about Hammertoes

Hammertoes are a common, painful deformity that involves the three middle toes of the foot. These toes always appear as if they are bent and occur from a ligament and muscle imbalance around the toe joint, thus forcing the toes to remain in the same position. For some people, hammertoes are not debilitating, but for others they could affect their quality of life. For diabetic patients, hammertoes could result in poor circulation. Having your feet assessed by a foot specialist in Calgary is the best way to get timely and appropriate help with managing or correcting your hammertoes.


The Different Types of Hammertoes

There are two types of hammertoes: flexible and rigid. Flexible toes can still move at the joint and are less severe. With flexible hammertoes, a podiatrist in Calgary may be able to use non-surgical alternatives. Rigid hammertoes, on the other hand, press the joint out of alignment and the tendons are so tight that the toe cannot be moved. These are more severe and are limited on treatment options.


What Causes Hammertoes?

When your toe’s muscles and ligaments get out of balance, the pressure can form a hammerhead shape in the toe. The imbalance can be caused by:

  • Genetics - you may have inherited the condition or high-arched feet could have caused it
  • Arthritis
  • Tight-fitting or improperly sized shoes
  • An injury to the toe


Treatment Options for Hammertoes

Your treatment options will depend on the type of hammertoe you have and the severity of the condition. Even if you do not have pain, you should visit a Calgary foot clinic. Often, early treatment is the best way to prevent pain in the future. Some treatment options you may have will include:

  • Orthotic shoes: Proper fitting and well-supported shoes can relieve pain and prevent the hammertoes from getting worse
  • Medication to reduce inflammation and swelling
  • Cortisone injections for acute pain
  • Foot exercises to help restore muscular balance, reduce pain and prevent the hammertoe from getting worse
  • For more severe cases, surgery may be required to remove small pieces of bone and realign the joints


If you suffer from hammertoes, be aware that you do have treatment options. It is best to visit a foot health centre in Calgary before your hammertoes start causing you pain. With a timely assessment, you are more likely to have non-invasive treatments at your disposal. Dalhousie Station Foot Clinic uses state-of-the-art equipment and expert podiatrists to diagnose and treat your condition. As a board-certified foot surgeon and a fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, Dr. Russell will diagnose and treat your foot ailments so you can get back on your feet again.


Call us at 403-247-1961 or contact us online to schedule your consultation.