is a deformity of the second, third or fourth toes in which the main toe
joint is bent upward like a claw. Initially, hammertoes are flexible and can be corrected with simple measures. Left untreated, they can become fixed and require surgery. Hammertoe results from shoes that don?t fit properly or a muscle imbalance, usually in combination with one or more other factors. Muscles work in pairs to straighten and bend the toes. If the toe
is bent and held in one position long enough, the muscles tighten and can?t stretch out.
is commonly caused by wearing shoes that are too narrow, tight or short on a regular basis. By doing so, your toe
joints are forced into odd position. Over time, the tendons and muscles in your toe
become shorter and cause it to bend. You can suffer a hammer toe
if you have diabetes and the disease is worsening. If this occurs, you should contact your doctor right away. Arthritis can also cause hammer toes. Because your toe
muscles get out of balance when you suffer from this joint disorder, tendons and joints of your toes are going to experience a lot of pressure.
Symptoms include sharp
pain in the middle of the toe
and difficulty straightening the toe
. People with hammertoe may also develop blisters, which are fluid-filled pockets of skin, because the bent toe
is likely to rub against the inside of a shoe. This increased friction may also lead to calluses, which are areas of thickened skin, and corns, which are hard lumps that may form on or between toes. Symptoms may be minor at first, but they can worsen over time.
Hammer toes may be easily detected through observation. The malformation of the person's toes begin as mild distortions, yet may worsen over time - especially if the factors causing the hammer toes are not eased or removed. If the condition is paid attention to early enough, the person's toes may not be permanently damaged and may be treated without having to receive surgical intervention. If the person's toes remain untreated for too long, however the muscles within the toes might stiffen even more and will require invasive procedures to correct the deformity.
Non Surgical Treatment
Hammer toes usually get progressively worse over time, especially if you avoid seeking care. Not all cases are the same, so it is important to get your podiatrist or foot surgeon to evaluate your condition so that you can get the treatment you need as soon as possible. Your treatment options will vary depending on the severity of your hammer toe
. You may not require surgery to treat your hammer toe
. Your doctor may suggest one of these less invasive measures. Instead of wearing shoes that are too high or too short, wear comfortable shoes that have plenty of room and are flat
or low-heeled. Your doctor can prescribe pads that will prevent your corns or calluses from getting irritated. Avoid over-the-counter medicated pads, as they contain Hammer toes
acid that can worsen your condition. An orthotic device can be customized to fit your shoe and foot. It can help control your tendon and muscle imbalance, which in turn may ease your pain. NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen can reduce inflammation. By relieving swelling in your toe
joint, you can alleviate your pain. Splints or small straps can be placed on your toe
by a foot surgeon to realign your bent toe
. Applying ice packs wrapped in cloth on your hammer toe
can reduce inflammation and swelling. Gently massaging your toes can assist in alleviating your pain caused by hammer toes. Try exercises that stretch your feet as these can help restore your muscle balance. A simple exercise that can help is to pick up a cloth or small object from the floor by curling your toes. This action will help your feet and toes by stretching them.
If your hammer, claw, or mallet toe
gets worse, or if nonsurgical treatment does not help your pain, you may think about surgery. The type of surgery you choose depends on how severe your condition is and whether the toe
joint is fixed (has no movement) or flexible (has some movement). A fixed toe
joint often requires surgery to be straightened. A flexible toe
joint can sometimes be straightened without surgery. Surgery choices include Phalangeal head resection (arthroplasty), in which the surgeon removes part of the toe
bone. Joint fusion (arthrodesis), in which the surgeon removes part of the joint, letting the toe bones
grow together (fuse
). Cutting supporting tissue or moving tendons in the toe
joint. How well surgery works depends on what type of surgery you have, how experienced your surgeon is, and how badly your toes are affected.