Hammertoe Specialist

Gelbmann Podiatry  -  - Podiatry

Gelbmann Podiatry

Podiatry & Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon, Foot & Ankle Surgeon, & Orthopedic Trauma located in Near Southside & West Town, Chicago, IL

If one or more of your toes bends downward in a curved position, it may be due to hammertoe. Though common, when left untreated, a hammertoe may result in a permanent abnormality. At Gelbmann Podiatry, with two locations in the Near Southside and West Town neighborhoods of Chicago, Illinois, David Gelbmann, DPM, and Ramsha Tanwir, DPM, provide safe, effective treatment for hammertoe onsite. To schedule an appointment, book a consultation online, or call the nearest office today.

Hammertoe Q & A

What is a hammertoe?

Hammertoe is a common foot deformity caused by an imbalance in the tendons designed to hold your toe straight. Over time, this imbalance results in stiffness and immobility, leaving your toe in a hammerhead or claw-like position.

Anyone can develop a hammertoe, but the condition is more common in women than men. Experts aren’t entirely sure why this is, but ill-fitting or tight shoes, like high heels, may play a role.

What are the types of hammertoes?

Gelbmann Podiatry treats both types of hammertoe, including:

Flexible hammertoe

If you have a flexible hammertoe, it’s possible to bend and straighten your toe. Flexible hammertoes are mild and typically respond to conservative forms of treatment like stretching and at-home strengthening exercises.

Rigid hammertoe

A rigid hammertoe occurs when the tendons in your toe become stiff and push the bones out of alignment. Rigid hammertoes stay locked in a curved position and typically require surgical intervention.

What causes hammertoe?

A hammertoe occurs due to a muscle imbalance. Various factors can contribute, including:

  • Wearing ill-fitting or tight shoes
  • Trauma
  • Arthritis
  • Genetics

Other foot conditions can also increase your risk of hammertoe, including bunions, corns, and calluses. 

How is hammertoe diagnosed?

To diagnose hammertoe, Gelbmann Podiatry reviews your medical history and asks about your symptoms, including if you’ve noticed any potential triggers and when you first noticed the bend in your toe.

Afterward, your provider physically examines your toes, gently pressing on them to pinpoint areas of sensitivity or swelling. They also order X-rays to evaluate the health of the bones and joints in your feet and toes.

How is hammertoe treated?

Treatment for hammertoe depends on the type and severity of your symptoms. Gelbmann Podiatry typically recommends conservative treatments like wearing more comfortable shoes, padding, or taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication.

If you have a flexible hammertoe, you might benefit from at-home stretches or strengthening exercises that support the muscles and ligaments in your toes. 

If you have a rigid hammertoe and it causes you significant pain, you might benefit from surgery. During hammertoe surgery, your Gelbmann Podiatry provider repositions your toe, removes damaged or deformed bone, and realigns your tendons.

To learn more about treatment for hammertoe, schedule an appointment at Gelbmann Podiatry. Book a consultation online, or call the nearest office today.