A Hammer toe
occurs when the hammertoe
joint of the toes curl down. The reason they curl abnormally is due to a muscle imbalance which results in the tendons
becoming unnaturally tight. They are due to Heredity, improper shoes, and Arthritis. There are two types of hammer toes, flexible or rigid. These classification are based on the mobility of the toe
joints. A flexible hammer toe is one with a flexible toe joint that allows it to be straightend with your finger. In time a flexible joint may turn into a rigid hammer toe. Normally flexible hammer
toes are much less painful than rigid hammer toes. A rigid hammer toe is one with a rigid toe joint, one that is not moveable with your finger. These rigid toe joints can be very painful and limit
the ability to move.
Those fashionable shoes. Women tend to cram their feet into too-narrow, ill-fitting shoes with little to no arch support. That?s why we see more hammertoes in women than men. Pointy, high-heeled
shoes put severe pressure on the toes and their joints, and they typically have little to no arch support. Neuromuscular diseases can contribute to the development of hammertoe, too. People with
diabetes can be at increased risk for complications from a hammertoe. In diabetics, if a toe has a corn or other ulceration, it indicates there is too much pressure on the toes. In those with poor
blood flow or neuropathy, these lesions can get infected and lead to the loss of a toe or foot unless shoes are modified.
The middle joint of the toe is bent. The end part of the toe bends down into a claw-like deformity. At first, you may be able to move and straighten the toe. Over time, you will no longer be able to
move the toe. It will be painful. A corn often forms on the top of the toe. A callus is found on the sole of the foot. Walking or wearing shoes can be painful.
Most health care professionals can diagnose hammertoe simply by examining your toes and feet. X-rays of the feet are not needed to diagnose hammertoe, but they may be useful to look for signs of some
types of arthritis (such as rheumatoid arthritis) or other disorders that can cause hammertoe.
Non Surgical Treatment
Putting padding between your toes and strapping them in place can help to stop pain caused by the toes rubbing. Custom-made insoles for your shoes will help to take the pressure off any painful
areas. Special shoes that are wider and deeper than normal can stop your toes rubbing. However if your pain persists your consultant may recommend an surgery.
Sometimes surgery can not be avoided. If needed, the surgery chosen is decided by whether we are dealing with a flexible or rigid hammer toe. If the surgery is on a flexible hammer toe, it is
performed on soft tissue structures like the tendon and or capsule of the flexor hammer toe. Rigid hammer toes need bone surgeries into the joint of the toe to repair it. This bone surgery is called
Walking barefoot increases the risk for injury and infection. Being on your feet throughout the day can cause them to swell, this is the best time to buy shoes to get a better fit. Do not buy shoes
that feel tight. Do not buy shoes that ride up and down your heel as you walk. The ball of your foot should fit into the widest part of the shoe. Remember, the higher the heel the less safe the shoe
will be. Avoid shoes with pointed or narrow toes. If the shoes hurt, do not wear them. If you start noticing the beginning signs of hammer toes, you may still be able to prevent the tendons from
tightening by soaking your feet every day in warm water, wearing toe friendly shoes, and performing foot exercises such as stretching your toes and ankles. A simple exercise such as placing a small
towel on the floor and then picking it up using only your toes can help to restore the flexibility of tendons.