Hammertoe is a condition where one or both muscles of the toes is severely bent, causing the toe to take on a deformed appearance that resembles a ’hammer’. Hammertoes generally start out as mild defects, which are often aggravated by the pressure of wearing shoes. Over time, the joints can become more and more bent, resulting in a more extreme – and sometimes debilitating – deformity. Left untreated, hammertoes will become rigid over time and will require surgical intervention to correct.
There are a variety of causes of hammertoes, but the most common is an imbalance in the muscles or tendons. Toes that are too long for shoes or injury and trauma to the toe are other reasons this condition may develop. There are a number of non-surgical options that can treat a hammertoe in its early stages. Some of these are injection therapy, wearing corrective footwear and applying splints to realign the affected toe or toes.
If these methods do not alleviate the condition, surgical intervention may be a patient’s last resort. One of the surgical methods that podiatry specialists at the La Peer Health Systems use is the StayFuse Intramedullary Fusion System by Tournier. The StayFuse™ device consists of an interlocking two piece titanium screw that snaps together for the fusion of small bones and replaces the 1.1mm K-wires used in traditional methods.
To correct a hammertoe using the StayFuse method, the first and second bones of the toe are fused together at the point where the tendon was overstretched and caused the crooked appearance. The devices are color-coded by size, decreasing length and circumference for each toe to accommodate the change in bone size. The benefits of the StayFuse Intramedullary Fusion System over other methods of surgical repair of hammertoes is a decreased chance of infection, no post-op implant exposure and no disruption of healthy joints.
If you’ve been suffering from the pain that’s often associated with hammertoes, the good news is you don’t have to suffer any longer. The specialists at La Peer Health Systems can help you decide which treatment method may be right for you by evaluating your condition and concerns. Contact our office to schedule a consultation with a member of our podiatry team today.