Bunions And Hammertoes Specialist

Richmond Orthopedic Institute

Surgeons located in Richmond, VA

Bunions and hammertoes are common foot deformities that can cause pain and affect how you walk. At Richmond Orthopedic Institute, patient-geared podiatric surgeon Dr. Anson Chu, provides comprehensive treatment of foot deformities like bunions and hammertoes in the Richmond, Virginia, office. To schedule your appointment, call the office or click on the online booking tool today.

Bunions and Hammertoes

What is a bunion?

Bunions, or Hallux Valgus, is a deformity of the big toe joint. The hallux, or big toe, starts to drift laterally and causes the joint to be inflamed and painful. When pain persists at the big toe joint, diagnosis is confirmed based on clinical exam and radiographs.

What is a hammertoe? 

Hammertoe occurs when your toe curls downwards from the middle joint and can begin to look like a hammer. In most cases, hammertoe affects the middle toes of the foot (the second, third, or fourth toes) and rarely occurs in the pinky or big toes.  

The abnormal positioning of the toe can cause discomfort or even corns and calluses from constantly rubbing against the top of your shoe.  

Hammertoe can be flexible, in which you can straighten your toe, or rigid, in which the toe remains in the curled position all the time. Early treatment can prevent a flexible hammertoe from growing rigid. 

What causes bunions and hammertoes? 

Bunions and hammertoes stem from muscle imbalance in your toes. This imbalance affects the movement of your tendons and joints, preventing them from moving normally.  

The most common reason for this imbalance is wearing tight and poorly fitted shoes that force your toes to curl, such as high heels. Other factors can also contribute to bunion and hammertoe deformities, including genetics and arthritis. 

How are bunions and hammertoes diagnosed? 

At Richmond Orthopedic Institute, Dr. Chu can commonly diagnose bunions and hammertoes during a foot exam. 

These deformities can often occur alongside other foot issues such as arthritis so Dr. Chu may recommend an X-ray or further imaging to look more closely at the inner workings of your foot and determine whether you have other problems requiring treatment. 

What treatments help with bunions and hammertoe?

Mild bunion deformities may respond to conservative home remedies such as padding, splinting, anti-inflammatory medications or wider shoes. If conservative home remedies do not help, there are surgical options including minimally-invasive approaches to correct the deformity. The surgical treatment plan depends on the extent of joint damage secondary to the deformity. If correction of the deformity cannot be done outside of the joint, or extra-articular, sometimes the joint may need to be fused to prevent further pain. 

Flexible hammertoe usually responds to conservative methods like padding, taping, splinting, and custom orthotics. These treatment methods can help to rebalance the muscles in your toes, preventing flexible hammertoe from recurring.  

Surgery is the most common treatment to relieve symptoms associated with a rigid hammertoe. Dr. Chu can perform a procedure to remove the extra bone buildup around your toe joint and restore the proper balance of the tissues that control the joint’s movement.  

After bunion and hammertoe treatment, wearing custom orthotics and avoiding tight shoes long-term can help you maintain correct muscle balance in your toes and avoid recurrence.  

If you have other foot problems, particularly other foot deformities like flatfoot, Dr. Chu may recommend treating this issue at the same time.  

Bunions and hammertoes don’t have to be a long-term issue if you seek treatment quickly. Call Richmond Orthopedic Institute or book your appointment through online scheduling to get help from a leading foot and ankle specialist today.