Hammertoes are quite common and may range from mild to severe. A Hammer toes
is a contracture, or bending, of one or more toes, usually due to an imbalance between the muscles or tendons on the top and bottom of the toes. Over time, the affected toes lose flexibility,
becoming rigid and fixed in a contracted position. The abnormal bend positions the knuckle of the toe upward, causing it to push against the top of the shoe leading to additional problems. The
condition usually becomes progressively worse if not treated.
Hammertoe is caused when muscles fail to work in a balanced manner and the toe joints bend to form the hammertoe shape. If they remain in this position, the muscles and tendons supporting them
tighten and stay that way. Causes of hammertoe can include squeezing into a too-small or ill-fitting shoe or wearing high heels that jam your toes into a tight toe box. An injury such as badly
stubbing your toe. Arthritis. Nerve and muscle damage from diseases such as diabetes,
Well-developed hammertoes are distinctive due to the abnormal bent shape of the toe. However, there are many other common symptoms. Some symptoms may be present before the toe becomes overly bent or
fixed in the contracted position. Often, before the toe becomes permanently contracted, there will be pain or irritation over the top of the toe, particularly over the joint. The symptoms are
pronounced while wearing shoes due to the top of the toe rubbing against the upper portion of the shoe. Often, there is a significant amount of friction between the toe and the shoe or between the
toe and the toes on either side of it. The corns may be soft or hard, depending on their location and age. The affected toe may also appear red with irritated skin. In more severe cases, blisters or
open sores may form. Those with diabetes should take extra care if they develop any of these symptoms, as they could lead to further complications.
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
Symptoms of hammer toe might be helped through corn pads or cushions to alleviate them. If the person's hammer toes were caused by an underlying disease, the person should ask for their doctor's
advice prior to performing any exercises without consent. It is also important for a person with hammer toes to remember that they must not attempt to treat or remove corns by themselves. If open
cuts result from attempts to Hammer toe
remove them, an infection becomes a very real possibility. People
who experience diabetes or conditions that lead to poor circulation in their feet need to be especially careful.
If your toe is not bendable, your doctor may recommend surgery. The type of surgery that will be performed will depend on the severity of the condition. You should expect blood and urine studies
before the procedure, as well as x-rays of your feet. Your doctor will inject either a local or regional anesthetic. If your toe has some flexibility, the doctor may be able to straighten it by
simply making an incision in the toe to release or lengthen the tendon. If the toe is not flexible, your doctor will probably make the same incision to release the tendon, but he or she may also
remove some pieces of the bone so that the bone can be straightened. A k-wire is placed in the toe to help hold it straight while it is healing. This is taken out after about four weeks.