Toe deformities such as hammertoe or mallet toe are progressive deformities that can cause great discomfort with footwear and activity. It is caused by biomechanical abnormality causing larger muscles of the foot and leg to overpower the smaller intrinsic muscles of the foot.
“Buckling” of toe joints result due to muscle imbalance. These buckled or contracted positions cause pain in numerous areas of the toes from the tip of the toe, top of the toe, to the joint at the ball of the foot. Boney prominences may occur on top of the toe. Tendons, ligaments, and joint capsules in this area have a greater chance of tightening and shortening. Shoe irritation of the deformed digit results in painful corns, skin inflammation, and inability to wear shoes comfortably.
Visit Toe Deformities to learn more about conservative treatment options.
Sometimes despite all conservative efforts, toe deformities cause persistent pain and difficulty with footwear. Surgical options should be considered at this time. Dr. Wang specializes in foot and ankle deformities and has great experience in dealing with toe deformities such hammertoes. Following a thorough exam during your initial consultation with Dr. Wang, she will then send you for X-ray of your foot. Based on your exam and X-ray results, Dr. Wang will discuss different treatment options with you. Typically, in early stages of toe deformity when the toe is still quite flexible, a soft tissue release would suffice. This is done through a very small incision performed under local anesthesia and you would be able to walk immediate after surgery. When a toe deformity is semi-flexible, the doctor may suggest taking out a small segment of bone in the toe under local anesthesia in order to “decompress” the joint into a straighter position. After surgery, you would be able to walk protected in a surgical shoe. In more severe cases when the toe is in a fixed position or quite deformed, a pin may need to be inserted into the toe temporarily to achieve correction. In this case, the doctor will place you in a walking boot for protection after surgery.
If you believe you are suffering foot pain or feeling limited in the types of shoes you can wear due to deformities in your toe, please contact our office for a surgical consultation with Dr. Wang.