Pain in the Toe?

Calluses, corns caused by hammertoe can be corrected.

Misalignment of the joint of the big toe can result in an unequal distribution of pressure on the foot when walking,” says board-certified podiatric surgeon Robert P. Dunne, DPM, FACFAS, of Lake Washington Foot & Ankle. “This condition can also lead to the formation of calluses and the development of the sometimes painful condition called hammertoe.”

Hammertoe is a bending or curling of the toe that often results in the formation of corns or calluses as the toe deformity presses unnaturally against a person’s footwear.

“Hammertoes are typically caused by a contracture,” notes Dr. Dunne. “This is an irregular and potentially permanent shortening of muscle or scar tissue that results in the deformity of the toe joint.

“A hammertoe can become very painful,” he adds, “sometimes rubbing against the shoe, causing a corn to occur. If the corn is painful, we know that the corn itself is actually not the problem, but only a symptom. The problem is the underlying hammertoe deformity. Unless the affected toe is straightened out, there will inevitably be an issue with corns or calluses.”

Dr. Dunne always offers conservative treatments to his patients before recommending an invasive procedure. Those treatments include non-medicated pads, anti-inflammatory medications and therapeutic shoes.

Outpatient Offering

In cases where hammertoe pain is resistant to treatment, Dr. Dunne may recommend a hammertoe correction, an outpatient procedure performed under local anesthesia either in the comfort of Dr. Dunne’s office or a hospital setting.

During surgical hammertoe correction, a small portion of cartilage and bone is removed from the joint to decompress it.

“Typically, we use a pin to hold the alignment in place that is painlessly removed in the office after about thirty days,” Dr. Dunne explains. “However, not all hammertoes require fixation. There are now implantable devices where we can use a small bone graft if joint fusion is required.

“Whether the patient requires a pin or an implantable device, in the vast majority of cases, he or she will be able to walk on the foot immediately after surgery and during the healing period. The patient can walk on the foot the same day to a limited extent and is usually back to normal activities within a week.”

Lake Washington Foot & Ankle is a comprehensive podiatric medicine clinic offering treatment for everything from hammertoes to bunions. “We treat ingrown toenails, warts and neuromas,” adds Dr. Dunne. “We also do clinical trials for onychomycosis [nail fungus] in an effort to find better and more effective treatment for this ailment.

“Our patients come first, and we recommend that they take action now if they have a problem. I would encourage people not to wait so long to come in. The earlier we address a condition, the easier it is to resolve it.

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    • Lake Washington Foot & Ankle

      Dr. Dunne welcomes the opportunity to answer your questions about foot health. For further information or to schedule an appointment, please call (321) 253-6191. His office is located at 2717 N. Wickham Rd., #4, in Melbourne.... Read More

    • Robert P. Dunne, DPM, FACFAS

      Robert P. Dunne, DPM, FACFAS, is a board-certified podiatric surgeon and a Fellow of the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons. After receiving his degree from Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine, he completed a p... Read More

    • Ryan Cantwell, DPM

      Ryan Cantwell, DPM, is a podiatric surgeon who earned his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of South Florida in 2012 and his medical degree from the California School of Podiatric Medicine in Oakland, CA in 2016. He c... Read More