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Hammer Toes Specialist

James W. Ratcliff, DPM

Podiatrist & Foot and Ankle Surgeon located in Los Gatos, CA

Hammertoes can cause abnormal bending in your toes that becomes so severe that your toes become rigid and sore. Because untreated hammertoes are likely to progress and worsen, expert podiatrist James W. Ratcliff, DPM, provides personalized treatment options at his state-of-the-art practice in Los Gatos, California. Learn more about modern hammertoe treatments by booking an evaluation online or over the phone today.

Hammer Toes Q&A

What are hammertoes?

Hammertoes are joint deformities that affect your smaller toes. They’re caused by an imbalance in connective tissues, like muscles and tendons, that normally help your toe lie flat. But if you have a second toe that’s longer than your big toe, as an example, it’s going to have to scrunch up to make room for itself to fit into your shoes.

This is often why women are more prone to developing hammertoes. Regular wear of pointy, snug, or high-heeled shoes can force your toes to bend into abnormal positions. Over time, connective tissues start getting used to this new position and are “trained” to keep your toe bent.

It isn’t just longer toes or ill-fitting shoes that are to blame when it comes to hammertoes. Your risk of hammertoes is also high if you have arthritis or experience some kind of foot trauma (like stubbing your toe).

When should I see a podiatrist for hammertoes?

Dr. Ratcliff encourages you to come in for an evaluation as soon as your hammertoes begin forming. This way, he can help you find conservative measures to correct your hammertoe deformities early on.

To help get relief from pain and discomfort, it’s important to come in as soon as possible if your hammertoes are leading to:

  • Painful corns
  • Swelling or stiffness
  • Limited range of motion
  • Discomfort while walking or exercising

Dr. Ratcliff spends time thoroughly examining you and talking with you about your specific diagnosis, so you can work together to find the right combination of hammertoe treatments. 

Can I get treatment for hammertoes?

Dr. Ratcliff is an expert in conservative, holistic care, so you can expect relief from minor to complex hammertoe issues, often without having to resort to surgery. Your hammertoe treatment plan can involve:

  • Removing calluses 
  • Switching to roomier footwear
  • Getting fitted for supportive orthotics
  • Learning specialized toe stretching exercises

If you have more rigid or severely painful hammertoes, Dr. Ratcliff may talk with you about surgery. Hammertoe surgery, which is minimally invasive, involves straightening out your toe joints and releasing stiff tissues, so your toes can lie flat again. 

Schedule your hammertoe evaluation at the office of James W. Ratcliff, DPM, directly through the website. You can also call the office to speak with a team member.