What is a hallux hammertoe?
A hallux hammertoe is when the big toe is flexed. This may occur alone or with hammertoes of the other digits. This is also known as hallux malleus.
What are the symptoms?
People with a hallux hammertoe may have irritation at the top of the big toe joint or at the tip of the toe if the deformity is severe. People with neuropathy or diabetes may even develop a wound at either location.
What is the nonsurgical treatment for a hallux hammertoe?
Conservative treatments consist of padding the big toe and wearing shoes with a wide, stretchy toe box to avoid irritation.
What about surgery?
If the hallux hammertoe is flexible, a simple tendon release may be recommended. If the deformity is rigid, either a joint fusion or joint resection (arthroplasty) may be performed to straighten the big toe. The type of the procedure recommended largely depends on the patient activity level and any associated health problems. Usually after the procedure, weightbearing in a removable cast boot is permitted and the duration is up to around 6 weeks in the case of a joint fusion.
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