occurs from a muscle and ligament imbalance around the toe joint
which causes the middle joint of the toe to bend and become stuck in this position. The most common complaint with hammertoes is rubbing and irritation on the top of the bent toe. Toes that may curl
rather than buckle, most commonly the baby toe, are also considered hammertoes. It can happen to any toe. Women are more likely to get pain associated with hammertoes than men because of shoe gear.
Hammertoes can be a serious problem in people with diabetes or poor circulation. People with these conditions should see a doctor at the first sign of foot trouble.
A hammer toe develops because of an abnormal balance of the muscles in the toes. This abnormal balance causes increased pressures on the tendons and joints of the toe, leading to its contracture.
Heredity and trauma can also lead to the formation of a hammer toe. Arthritis is another factor, because the balance around the toe in people with arthritis is disrupted. Wearing shoes that are too
tight and cause the toes to squeeze can also cause a hammer toe to form.
People with a hammer toe hammertoes
will often find that a corn or callus will
develop on the top of the toe, where it rubs against the top of the footwear. This can be painful when pressure is applied or when anything rubs on it. The affected joint may also be painful and
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
If your toe is still flexible, your doctor may recommend that you change to roomier and more comfortable footwear and that you wear shoe inserts (orthotics) or pads. Wearing inserts or pads can
reposition your toe and relieve pressure and pain. In addition, your doctor may suggest exercises to stretch and strengthen your toe muscles. These may include picking up marbles or a thin towel off
the floor with your toes.
For severe hammer toe, you will need an operation to straighten the joint. The surgery often involves cutting or moving tendons and ligaments. Sometimes the bones on each side of the joint need to be
connected (fused) together. Most of the time, you will go home on the same day as the surgery. The toe may still be stiff afterward, and it may be shorter. If the condition is treated early, you can
often avoid surgery. Treatment will reduce pain and walking difficulty.