When is a Hammertoe not a Hammertoe?

hammertoe

At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, we find that sometimes our Douglas Park/Los Angeles County area patients are quick to diagnose well-publicized foot or ankle disorders on their own and mistakenly think they don’t need to make an appointment at our Long Beach office to get it evaluated. One of these is a hammertoe. Sometimes, however, what appears to be a hammertoe may actually be an issue with the plantar plate ligament.

Plantar Plate Ligament vs Toe Deformity

In both the case of a hammertoe and a plantar plate ligament injury, the bending of the toe at the joint in a downward fashion to resemble a hammer may be present. However, if the toe involved in the second toe, further investigation is needed. The plantar plate ligament provides netting like structure that spreads out under the second toe and helps to distribute the tension put on the foot. For most patients with a hammertoe, the pain is usually on the top of the toe where it rubs up against shoes. In the case of a plantar plate ligament issue, however, the pain if more often in the ball of the foot and can be fairly intense.

Treatment

Hammertoes have both conservative and surgical treatment options available. It is a progressive condition, however, and will only get worse over time. The best long-term results for plantar plate ligament injury is surgery that is considered fairly minor with approximately a six-week recovery period.

So, the bottom line is, if you notice that one or more of your toes appear to be moving into an abnormal position or you experience any pain or discomfort in your toes or feet, it’s best to contact us and come see our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria M. Foley and Dr. Constance Ornelas, to get your problem professionally diagnosed. The foot doctor will be able to find the source of your discomfort and prescribe the correct treatment to keep you on your feet.