Hammertoe Specialist

Park East Podiatry

Neil S. Zwiebel, DPM

Podiatrist located in Midtown, New York, NY

If your toe curves downward like a claw, you have hammertoe and are at risk for its becoming a permanent condition. Dr. Neil Zwiebel, caring podiatrist at Park East Podiatry in New York, New York, relieves hammertoe through nonsurgical and surgical means. If you live or work in the New York City area and have hammertoe, call up the supportive Park East Podiatry staff or book an appointment with Dr. Zwiebel online.

Hammertoe Q&A

What’s hammertoe?

Hammertoe is a deformity that causes the middle joint of the toe to bend downward like a claw or the head of a hammer. Hammertoe usually affects the second toe (nearest the big toe), but any toe and even multiple toes can have hammertoe.

What causes hammertoe?

The bend in hammertoe is caused by the tendons underneath the toe pulling harder than the tendons at the top of the toe, creating unequal pressure. Hammertoe can arise as a consequence of:

  • Wearing high heels or shoes with narrow toe boxes
  • Ageing
  • Injury
  • Nerve damage
  • Muscle imbalance
  • Second toe that’s longer than big toe
  • Chronic disease, including diabetes
  • Bunions

Are hammertoes serious?

Hammertoes are unattractive but also interfere with the normal functioning of your feet. While your toe may initially be flexible, if you don’t treat a hammertoe, the deformed bones eventually fuse into place, making the toe rigid and the clawlike shape permanent.

Hammertoes can cause:

  • Pain
  • Difficulty walking
  • Corns and calluses

How can I treat hammertoe?

If your hammertoe is at an early stage and is still flexible, Dr. Zwiebel recommends conservative treatments to resolve it. First, he recommends wearing flat shoes that have room enough in the toe box for your toes to rest normally and comfortably. You can also use inserts, pads, and cushions to alleviate pressure on your toe. Dr. Zwiebel teaches you exercises to stretch and strengthen your hammertoes.

Does my hammertoe need surgery?

If your hammertoe is still flexible but interferes with your quality of life, Dr. Zwiebel may recommend surgery to straighten your toe. He performs the surgery in his office with local anesthesia, using only a single incision per toe. He cuts the tendons that are pulling the toe downward, which allows the toe to resume a healthy position.

If your toe bones have already fused, Dr. Zwiebel removes a small section of the bone at the joint. He then places a metal pin to hold your toe in correct alignment as it heals. You need to stay off that foot for several week as your toe heals.

You don’t have to suffer from hammertoe or its consequences. Call Dr. Neil Zwiebel’s friendly staff at Park East Podiatry or book a hammertoe consultation online.