St. Elizabeth's Medical Center

736 Cambridge Street, Brighton, MA 02135    617-789-3000

St. Elizabeth'sServices and Clinical CentersPodiatric Surgery

Hammertoe

hamertoeSt. Elizabeth’s is the first hospital in Boston to employ a new, innovative surgical hammertoe treatment called nextradesis. Utilizing the Nextra™ Hammertoe Correction System, the nextradesis procedure uses a micro-implant, designed to straighten the toe to a natural, anatomical position. Patients can return to work and normal activities, bathe more regularly and sleep more peacefully when compared to traditional treatments.

What is hammertoe?

Hammertoe is a bending of the toe, making it curl like the end of a hammer. It can occur in any toe other than the big toe but most frequently inflicts the second toe. Hammertoes can be flexible or, if more serious, rigid.

What causes hammertoe?

  • An imbalance in the muscles that control the foot and toes during walking and sports
  • Wearing shoes that are too tight, or have too high a heel.

How often does hammertoe occur?

As many as 60 million Americans suffer from hammertoes. Hammertoes are more common among women due to their tendency to wear tight, narrow shoes, but the condition affects men as well. The median age of hammertoe sufferers is 52 – by which time they likely have logged 75,000 miles on their feet.

What are the symptoms of hammertoe?

Along with bending or curling, symptoms include:

  • Redness
  • Inflammation
  • Joint stiffness
  • Corns
  • Calluses
  • Open sores
  • Pain when wearing shoes or walking

How does the condition progress?

If left untreated, hammertoe symptoms can worsen and footwear options become limited. When hammertoes become more pronounced and painful, surgery is often required to repair the condition.

What are the treatment options?

Treatment options range from simple to surgical. If the condition is mild, non-surgical options include:

  • Wider shoes with lower heels
  • Toe exercises
  • Padding, tape or splinting
  • Medication
  • Orthotics

Until recently, wires were used for surgical correction. In this technique, one or more wires are inserted into the bone through both the affected joint and a normally healthy toe joint, and the end of the toe. These wires stay in place for four to six weeks, protruding from the end of the toes. Due to the protruding wire, simple things such working, driving, bathing and even sleeping are difficult while these wires are in place. During this recovery period, patients often experience discomfort during sleep and are subject possible infection.

How is Nextra different?

The Nextra Hammertoe Correction System is a fusion implant which does not require insertion of a wire. It gives surgeons precise control to repair only the affected joint and make specific adjustments intra-operatively for each patient, to ensure the best patient outcome. Patients can return to work and normal activities, bathe more regularly and sleep more peacefully without pins protruding from the end of their toes. The risk of pin infection is eliminated and the chances of a hammertoe reoccurring is greatly diminished when bone healing occurs.


Podiatric Surgery Services
St. Elizabeth’s Medical Office Building
Suite 501
11 Nevins Street
Brighton, MA 02135
617-779-6512
Fax: 617-779-6468
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