Up to 3% of the American population may experience the painful curling of the toes known as hammertoe. This often-inherited condition is caused by an imbalance of the muscles and ligaments of the toe. Because of the imbalance, the middle joint of the toe is prone to buckling. When the joint buckles and the toe gets stuck in that position, you’ll be diagnosed with hammertoe.
Mild cases of hammertoe, known as flexible hammertoe, often respond well to non-surgical treatments. However, if the tendons become so rigid that they press the joint out of alignment, you will not be able to move your toe. This is called rigid hammertoe.
Rigid hammertoe will require surgery. In years past the only option to correct a hammertoe was a surgery that included external pins sticking out of the toe for up to six weeks. Fortunately, science and technology continue to advance, and new techniques using internal hardware are now available.
Surgery to treat hammertoe using internal hardware offers benefits of less swelling, quicker return to normal footwear, and eliminates the need for a second procedure to remove hardware. The results of successful hammertoe surgery using internal hardware include both cosmetic and functional improvement.
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