Your toes stay in a straight orientation thanks to a network of tendons, muscles, and ligaments. But you may develop hammertoe if you wear tight-fitting shoes, suffer a foot injury, or due to natural abnormalities. The condition causes a distinct bend in your middle three toes, and you cannot straighten one that is affected. Dr. Judson Spiegel of Assabet Family Podiatry in Marlborough, MA, may recommend surgery to alleviate the pain and allow the toe to straighten.

Do I Need Surgery for My Hammertoe?
Early cases of hammertoe may resolve with some lifestyle changes, such as wearing shoes that have larger toe boxes. You may also need to manage any sores and ulcers on your bent toe. Dr. Spiegel will recommend the best medication for healing the skin. He also says that you should avoid attempting to remove calluses from the affected toe, as this increases the risk of infection. If these options don’t produce the desired results, Dr. Spiegel often recommends hammertoe surgery for patients in Marlborough, MA.

How is Surgery for Hammertoe Performed?
Dr. Spiegel uses three techniques when performing surgery for hammertoe. If you still have mobility in the joint of your toe, lengthening the ligament may produce the desired results. The ligament may also be repaired with a graft from a different part of your toe. When the joint is not mobile, Dr. Spiegel may recommend fusing the joint. This procedure involves placing surgical pins or wires in your toe. This holds the toe in a straight position, but you will lose the ability to bend your toe permanently.

What is Recovery Like After Surgery for a Hammertoe?
Recovery after surgery for hammertoe takes one to two months. Expect to have some swelling and stiffness in the toe and ball of your foot. Dr. Spiegel encourages patients to start walking right after the surgery. Other activities should be avoided until the toe is healed. Keep your foot elevated when you are sitting and sleeping.

Will Surgery Cure My Hammertoe?
Surgery does cure hammertoes, but you may be at risk for developing the same condition in other toes. Dr. Spiegel provides expert guidance on how to reduce pressure on your foot that may result in hammertoes and other foot conditions.

Are you looking for relief from the pain and irritation of a hammertoe? Call Assabet Family Podiatry in Marlborough, MA, today at (508) 481-3659 to schedule an appointment. Dr. Spiegel has the necessary expertise to determine whether hammertoe surgery is appropriate for Marlborough, MA residents.

Characterized by a bend in one or both joints of any but the big toe, hammertoe is a common podiatric issue. In early stages the toe can still be extended, but will be bent upward in its resting state. If left untreated, however, the condition will worsen progressively.

Signs and Symptoms

Hammertoe is typically straightforward to identify on a simple physical examination. Symptoms include:

  • A contracted toe or toes.
  • Corns between toes or on the top, side or end of the affected toes. Corns are a buildup of skin caused by friction at the contact point between the toe and shoe.
  • Calluses on the bottom of toes or on the ball of the foot. Calluses are rough, dry patches of dead skin that has built up.
  • Pain or irritation when the toes come into contact with the shoe.

Hammertoes and their symptoms generally worsen over time, as the friction between the foot and footwear becomes more severe. Over time, they can become rigid, and open sores may form.


If you are suffering from hammertoes, it is important to seek help sooner rather than later, as they will not heal without treatment. Treatment options include:

  • Changing footwear
  • Padding the corns and calluses that form
  • Trimming the corns and calluses
  • Custom orthotics
  • Anti ­inflammatory medications
  • Splinting the affected toe.

Surgery may also be recommended in more severe cases.

You don’t need to suffer with hammertoes. Contact our office today, and we can begin down theroad to treatment with you!

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