If you sneak a peek at your feet and notice that your toes are crossed, bent, or just pointing at an odd angle, you probably suffer from a Hammer toe
. Toes that are scrunched up inside tight shoes or pressed against the toe box of the shoe can
bend at the joints and stay that way - resulting in a hammertoe. A hammertoe is a contracture of the toe at one of the two joints in the toe. Due Hammer toe
to the pull of the tendons, the joints become more rigid over time. The toe is bent up
at the joint and does not straighten out.
Ill-fitting shoes or a muscle imbalance are the most common causes of Hammer Toe. If there is an issue with a muscle in the second, third or fourth toes preventing them from straightening, Hammer Toe
can result. If one of these toes is bent long enough in one position, the muscles tighten and cannot stretch out. Left untreated, surgery may be required. Women are especially prone to developing
Hammer Toe because of their shoes. Hammer Toe results from shoes that don?t fit properly. Shoes that narrow toward the toe, pushing smaller toes into a bend position for extended periods of time.
High heels that force the foot down into a narrow space, forcing the toes against the shoe, increasing the bend in the toe.
If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to hammer toe. Talk to your doctor about symptoms such as a toe that curls down, corns on the top of a toe, calluses on the sole of the foot
or bottom of the toe, pain in the middle joint of a toe, discomfort on the top of a toe, difficulty finding any shoes that fit comfortably, cramping in a toe, and sometimes also the foot and leg,
difficult or painful motion of a toe joint, pain in the ball of the foot or at the base of a toe.
A hammertoe is usually diagnosed with a physical inspection of your toe. Imaging tests, such as X-rays, may be ordered if you have had a bone, muscle, or ligament injury in your toe.
Non Surgical Treatment
Non-surgical methods for hammer toes (claw toes) are aimed at decreasing symptoms (i.e., pain and/or calluses) and/or limiting the progression into a larger problem. Simple treatments patients can do
are wear supportive shoes. Use an arch support. Wear shoes with a wide toe box. Modify activities. Spot stretch shoes. Periodic callus care.
In more advanced cases of hammer toe, or when the accompanying pain cannot be relieved by conservative treatment, surgery may be required. Different types of surgical procedures are performed to
correct hammer toe, depending on the location and extent of the problem. Surgical treatment is generally effective for both flexible and fixed (rigid) forms of hammer toe. Recurrence following
surgery may develop in persons with flexible hammer toe, particularly if they resume wearing poorly-fitted shoes after the deformity is corrected.