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My grandmother is always complaining about her hammer toe. Is there anything she can do?

Hammer toes are a common foot problem, usually caused by a muscle/tendon imbalance. Flexor tendons on the bottom of the toe overpower the extensor tendons on the top. This results in a buckling of the toe which, combined with shoe irritation, creates a build up of thickened, dead, callous tissue commonly referred to as a corn. Pressure sores on the top of the knuckle joint or tip of the toe may also develop.

Treatment for hammer toes can be as simple as accommodating the toes with a roomier toe box in the shoe to avoid irritation. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to realign the toe. The most common surgery for hammer toe is called arthroplasty. This procedure involves removing a small portion of the knuckle joint and straightening the toe. The gap created by the removal of this portion of bone is then filled in by fibrinous tissue. Patients are able to bear weight right after surgery and are usually able to return to their normal shoes in two to three weeks.

A podiatrist, or doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM), treats conditions that affect the foot and ankle. Podiatrists treat patients of all ages for problems such as stress fractures, arthritis, toe and joint deformities, toenail problems, and flat or fallen arches using either therapeutic or surgical treatments

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