What exactly is a hammertoe

by Dr. Neal Blitz

I am a 49 year old female who lives in New York. I had a co-worker say something about the way my toes looked. What exactly is a hammertoe and how do I know if I have it?

A hammer toe is a condition where the toe becomes buckled or crooked at the toe knuckle.  Some people it may be mild, and in others it can be quite noticeable – to yourself or co-workers as you describe.  The second toe is most commonly involved, but some people can have all the toes hammered.  A bunion is often present with a hammer toe of the second toe.   The knuckle of the toes can become red and irritated from shoes.  You could even develop a hardened area of skin on the knuckle, called a callus or corn.

Surgery is sometimes an option, depending on which toe is involved and the severity/size of a hammer toe.  In general, the surgery typically involves realigning the toe, releasing ligaments, and removing the prominent portion of bone.  It is often performed as outpatient surgery; under a local anesthetic.



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