The term, Hammer toes
, is commonly used as a general classification for any condition where the
toe muscle weakens, causing digital contracture, and resulting in deformity, a digital contracture like this can actually be a hammertoe, claw toe or mallet toe, depending on which joints in the toe
are contracted. Clawtoes are bent at the middle and end joints, while hammertoes are bent at the middle joint only. When it?s mallet toe, the joint at the end of the toe buckles. The skin near the
toenail tip develops a painful corn that can eventually result in an ulcer. Doctors further categorize all forms of hammertoe based on whether the affected toe is flexible, semi-rigid or rigid. The
more rigid the toe, the more pain it will cause.
While ill-fitting shoes may contribute to a hammertoe, shoes don't actually cause it, Hammertoes occur by the pull and stretch of the tendon. One tendon gets a more mechanical advantage over the
other and allows the deformity to occur. Not surprisingly, wearing shoes that are too tight can make a hammertoe worse. If you're fond of narrow, pointy-toed shoes or high-heeled pumps, keep in mind
you're squeezing those toes and tendons, which may aggravate hammertoes.
A toe (usually the second digit, next to the big toe) bent at the middle joint and clenched into a painful, clawlike position. As the toe points downward, the middle joint may protrude upward. A toe
with an end joint that curls under itself. Painful calluses or corns. Redness or a painful corn on top of the bent joint or at the tip of the affected toe, because of persistent rubbing against shoes
Pain in the toes that interferes with walking, jogging, dancing, and other normal activities, possibly leading to gait changes.
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
Wear wide shoes with plenty of room in the toes and resilient soles. Avoid wearing shoes with pointed toes. Commercially available felt pads or cushions may ease pressure from the shoe on the toe.
Toe caps (small, padded sleeves that fit around the tip of the toe) may relieve the pain of hammer toe. Do toe exercises, to help toe muscles become stronger and more flexible.
Arch supports or an orthotic shoe insert prescribed by your doctor or podiatrist may help to redistribute weight on the foot. These devices do not cure the problem but may ease the symptoms of either
hammer toe or mallet toe.
If you have a severe case of hammer toe or if the affected toe is no longer flexible, you may need surgery to straighten your toe joint. Surgery requires only a local anesthetic (numbing medicine for
the affected area) and is usually an outpatient procedure. This means you don?t have to stay in the hospital for the surgery.
Have your feet properly measured, make sure that, while Hammer toes
standing, there is a centimetre (? thumb) of space for your longest toe at the end of each shoe. Buy shoes that fit the longer foot. Shop at the end of the day, when foot swelling is greatest. Don't
go by numbers, sizes vary by brand, so make certain your shoes are comfortable. Wear wide shoes with resilient soles, avoid shoes with pointed toes.