The term Hammer toes
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 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.
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.
is often distinguished by a toe
stuck in an upside-down ?V? position, and common symptoms include corns on the top of your toe
joint. Pain at the top of a bent toe
when you put on your shoes. Pain when moving a toe
joint. Pain on the ball of your foot under the bent toe
. Corns developing on the top of the toe
joint. It is advisable to seek medical advice if your feet hurt on a regular basis. It is imperative to act fast and seek the care of a podiatrist or foot surgeon. By acting quickly, you can prevent your problem from getting worse.
Your doctor is very likely to be able to diagnose your hammertoe simply by examining your foot. Even before that, he or she will probably ask about your family and personal medical history and evaluate your gait as you walk and the types of shoes you wear. You'll be asked about your symptoms, when they started and when they occur. You may also be asked to flex
so that your doctor can get an idea of your range of motion. He or she may order x-rays in order to better define your deformity.
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
. (Note: 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 specialist (Pedorthist) 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.
There are generally two methods surgeons use to correct hammer toes, they are joint resection (arthroplasty) or bone mending (fusion), and the location where this is performed on the toe
depends on where the toe
is buckled. Its important to recognize that most of the surgical work involved the hammertoe
joints of the toe
, not the joint of the ball of the foot. Sometimes a toe
relocation procedure is needed when the joint of the ball of the foot is malaligned (subluxed or dislocated).