Hammertoe Surgery Specialist

Gotham Footcare

Podiatrists located in New York, NY

The flexed position of hammertoe deformities can cause pain and discomfort. Patients in New York and surrounding areas who are suffering from hammertoes, can find foot care relief provided by the team of physicians led by Dr. Miguel Cunha, at the Midtown and Downtown, Manhattan offices of Gotham Footcare.

Hammer Toe Q & A

What is a hammer toe?

Hammer toes are contractions of the toe caused by a muscular imbalance in the foot where the tendons on the bottom of the foot over power the tendons on the top of the foot.  As the toes contract they may become permanently bent in a flexed position. This deformity often causes pain when wearing closed toe shoes when the bent toe begins to rub against the top of the shoe. The friction can cause a corn to develop. 

What causes hammer toes?

Several different things can cause hammer toes:

  • Congenital deformities present at birth

  • Nature. Genetic inheritance can lead to ligamentous laxity which means loose ligaments

  • (Nurture) Mechanical factors such as activity and/or tight fitting shoes that can lead to arthritis


How are hammer toes treated?

Here at Gotham Footcare, we start by correcting faulty foot mechanics that cause the hammertoe to develop. The emphasis is also on relieving painful symptoms through anti-inflammatory medications and through relieving the pressure caused from the shoe. Early treatment focuses on conservative methods such as converting from a pointed-toe low toe box shoe to wider, high toe box shoes can alleviate the pressure.

Nonsurgical treatment options include:

    • Shoe gear modification: Using wider shoes with larger toe boxes

    • Splinting, strapping, cushioning, and padding of the hammertoes

    • Custom orthotics to stabilize and slow progression of the deformity

    • Avoidance of activities that aggravate symptoms

    • Anti-inflammatory medications for periodic relief

    • Physical therapy to calm the inflammatory process

Hammer Toe graphic

How is surgery performed?

Surgery can become necessary if conservative measures fail to control the symptoms.  Gotham Footcare’s main goal of hammer toe surgery is to relieve the pain associated with the deformity and correct the position of the toe.  Hammertoe surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure, under monitored IV anesthesia. A typical surgery aims to remove the hammertoe, to realign the bones that make up the toe, and to balance the forces so the deformity does not return. There are many different surgical techniques to correct hammer toe deformities that depend on the severity of the cause of the hammertoe. The surgeons at Gotham Footcare are exceptionally trained to thoroughly evaluate the biomechanical nature of the hammertoe deformity to properly correct the condition. As always, care post-surgery is very important, and at Gotham Footcare we are equally focused on helping with a speedy recovery. Many hammer toe surgeries require three to four weeks in a post-operative boot or shoe.