A Hammer toes
is a toe that is bent because of a weakened muscle. The weakened muscle makes the tendons (tissues that connect muscles
to bone) shorter, causing the toes to curl under the feet. Hammertoes can run in families. They can also be caused by shoes that are too short. Hammertoes can cause problems with walking and can lead
to other foot problems, such as blisters, calluses, and sores. Splinting and corrective footwear can help in treating hammertoes. In severe cases, surgery to straighten the toe may be
Flat feet can result in hammertoes, this is due to poor mechanics off the foot. High arched feet can also result in buckling toes. A major cause is in hereditary, all the toe conditions mentioned
could be acquired due in hereditary factors. Bunions are a major cause of hammertoes. Claw toes are usually the result of a shoe that is too short. For many people, the second toe is actually longer
than the great toe, and if shoes are sized to fit the great toe, the second (and maybe even the third toe) will have to bend to fit into the shoe. Shoes that are pointed make matters even worse.
Combine pointed shoes with high heels, the foot is under similar pressure as if it was constantly being pushed downhill into a wall. Rheumatoid arthritis can also lead to bunions, which in turn can
lead to hammer toes.
Common symptoms of hammertoes include pain or irritation of the affected toe when wearing shoes. corns and calluses (a buildup of skin) on the toe, between two toes, or on the ball of the foot. Corns
are caused by constant friction against the shoe. They may be soft or hard, depending upon their location. Inflammation, redness, or a burning sensation. Contracture of the toe. In more severe cases
of hammertoe, open sores may form.
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
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 Hammer toe
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
Surgery involves removing a small section of bone from the affected joint through a procedure called arthroplasty. Arthrodesis may also be performed to treat hammertoes, which involves fusing
together one of the joints in the toe in order to keep it straight. This procedure requires the use of a metal pin to hold the toe in position while it heals.