Find Answers to Your Questions About Foot Care and Injury Prevention

Our Palm Desert podiatry team fields questions daily. Do you have a question about how to manage your foot pain? Do you have a question about the safety of a current footwear fad? Do you want to know more about foot and ankle injury prevention? If so, we hope you find the answers you need here.

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  • What are hammertoes?

    Hammertoes could have a multitude of possible causes, both genetic and environmental in natural.

    The core problem is muscles out of balance. Muscle groups work in pairs to move a toe; when one member of the pair is significantly stronger than the other, the weaker muscle maybe unable to re-straighten the toe.

    Factors that can lead to the imbalance include:

    • Family history of hammertoes
    • Frequently wearing high heels or other narrow shoes that prevent toes from lying flat and/or put significant weight and pressure on the toes
    • Arthritis
    • Nerve problems, including those associated with stroke or diabetes

    If you notice a hammertoe beginning to develop, it’s important to address the problem quickly, before the joint becomes rigid and inflexible—doing so can help restrict the treatment plan to conservative treatments and give you the best chance at avoiding surgery. To set up an appointment with Dr. Danciger in Palm Desert, contact our office online, or dial 760-568-0108 today.

  • What is the difference between mallet toes and hammertoes?

    Given the similarities between the two conditions, you may well wonder what the difference is between mallet toes and hammertoes. These foot deformities both entail an abnormal bend in a toe—typically the one next to the big toe. The key difference is that the bend for hammertoe happens at the middle joint, whereas in mallet toe the joint nearest the toenail is bent.

    Both of these conditions are commonly found in women who frequently wear high heels or shoes that have a narrow toe box. Either ailment can cause pain in toes and may be corrected by switching footwear and wearing orthotics or inserts. If conservative methods are not effective, surgery may be recommended to release the tension of a stubborn tendon.

    If you have developed either a hammertoe or a mallet toe, contact Harvey R. Danciger, DPM, so he can assess your specific situation and create a treatment plan for you. Call (760) 568-0108 to schedule an appointment at our Palm Desert, CA, office today and get the relief that you need from pain and discomfort.

  • Why can’t I straighten my hammertoe?

    A hammertoe is a deformity of the toe where it is not straight but is curling or bending.  Early on in the process of developing hammertoes, the toe is flexible so you can manually straighten the toe.  As the process progresses, the toe may not be able to be straightened out at all because the bones have become fused.  The only way to straighten the toes is by having surgery.


    If you are having pain and problems from hammertoes we can help.  Come see Dr. Danciger for care by requesting an appointment at 760-568-0108 or online.

  • Is there a difference between claw toe and hammertoe?

    These toe deformities are similar in the way they appear and symptoms they cause. They are typically caused by a muscle imbalance in the foot that causes the toes to curl, with ill-fitting shoes being another risk factor.

    There are some subtle differences. A hammertoe often affects the second toe; the toe curls down at the middle joint, resulting in a curled or hammer-like appearance. A claw toe on the other hand, often affects the four smaller toes at one time. With this deformity, the toe curls up at the joint nearest the foot and down at the middle and end joints. This makes the toe have a claw-like appearance.

    Both of these deformities can cause pressure on the toes when wearing shoes. Corns can develop on the tops of toes, and over time toes can become rigid and fixed without the right treatment. Please contact Dr. Harvey Danciger for timely and effective treatment if you are suffering from any of these conditions. Call our office at (760) 568-0108 to make an appointment today.    

  • What is a hammertoe implant?

    Hammertoe is a condition where toes become bent in a fixed position, resembling a small hammer. When it comes to hammertoe surgery, there are some options depending on the nature of your condition. One way to surgically fix a hammertoe problem is through an implant surgery.

    Instead of metal pins that hold the corrected toe in place, implant surgery involves placing a tiny device in the two bones of the affected joint to permanently fix it in a natural position. With this surgical option, there is a reduced risk of infection and the implants promote quick healing and less pain. The implants are permanent which also reduces the chance that the toe will return to its hammertoe position.

    If you are tired of dealing with bent toes that make it difficult to wear your favorite shoes, call Dr. Danciger today to discuss treatment options. Schedule an appointment directly from our homepage or call the office at (760) 568-0108.

  • Do you have to break a bone to fix a hammertoe deformity?

    Hammertoes are a deformity of the toes that typically develop from a muscle imbalance in the foot. They can become rigid and painful. Many turn to surgical correction to relieve their pain and restore function to their feet.

    What does hammertoe surgery involve?

    When hammertoes require surgery, there are several options depending on the nature and severity of your condition. During surgery, the bones are not typically “broken” but rather sections of the bone may be removed. During an arthroplasty, which is a common hammertoe surgery option, one side of the toe joint is removed so the toe can relax and lie flat. The tendons around that toe are then cut and reattached to support the new position of the toe. Sometimes a pin is set in through the end of the toe to keep the toe stable.  Another procedure, called arthrodesis is when the toe joints are fused together. This prevents the toe from bending but can alleviate pain from a hammertoe deformity.

    If you have painful hammertoes, there is no need to fear treatment even if surgery is necessary. Dr. Danciger can evaluate the nature of your problem and advise on the best course of treatment to alleviate your pain. Call us today at (760) 568-0108 or connect with us online with any questions or to schedule an appointment