The term Hammer toe
refers to a common deformity of the foot in which either the second, third, or fourth toe is
bent at the middle joint, so that the tip of the toe is bent downward while the middle of the toe is cocked upward resembling a hammer. The hammer toe deformity is the most common deformity of the
small toes. When a hammer toe first Hammer toe
develops, it can be bent back into its normal position. If not
treated, a hammer toe may become rigid and require surgical correction in order to correct the deformity. Symptoms and signs associated with hammer toe include corns or calluses on the affected toe
and pain in the affected area. It may be difficult for people suffering from hammer toe to find comfortable shoes.
People who are born with long bones in their toes are more likely to develop hammer toe. Children who wear shoes they have outgrown may develop this condition. People who wear very narrow shoes or
high-heeled shoes are also more likely to develop a hammer toe. Sometimes, pressure from a bunion can cause hammer toe. Rheumatoid arthritis is another a risk factor.
A hammertoe causes you discomfort when you walk. It can also cause you pain when trying to stretch or move the affected toe or those around it. Hammertoe symptoms may be mild or severe. Mild
Symptoms, a toe that is bent downward, corns or calluses. Severe Symptoms, difficulty walking, the inability to flex your foot or wiggle your toes, claw-like toes. See your doctor or podiatrist right
away if you develop any of these symptoms.
Your healthcare provider will examine your foot, checking for redness, swelling, corns, and calluses. Your provider will also measure the flexibility of your toes and test how much feeling you have
in your toes. You may have blood tests to check for arthritis, diabetes, and infection.
Non Surgical Treatment
Conservative treatment starts with new shoes that have soft, roomy toe boxes. Shoes should be one-half inch longer than your longest toe. For many people, the second toe is longer than the big toe.)
Avoid wearing tight, narrow, high-heeled shoes. You may also be able to find a shoe with a deep toe box that accommodates the hammer toe. Or, a shoe repair shop may be able to stretch the toe box so
that it bulges out around the toe. Sandals may help, as long as they do not pinch or rub other areas of the foot.
Extreme occurrences of hammer toe may call for surgery. Your surgeon will decide which form of surgery will best suit your case. Often, the surgeon may have to cut or remove a tendon or ligament.
Depending on the severity of your condition, the bones on both sides of the joint afflicted may need to be fused together. The good news is you can probably have your surgery and be released to go
home in one day. You will probably experience some stiffness in your toe, but it might last for a short period, then your long-term pain will be eliminated.
There are several things you can do to help prevent hammer toes from forming or progressing. Wear supportive shoes to help prevent deformities. Hammer toes are often related to faulty foot mechanics,
especially foot flattening. Wear custom orthotics prescribed by your podiatrist. Orthotics may slow the progression or prevent the development of hammer toes. Avoid shoes with narrow or pointed toe
boxes that can compress the toes.