Hammertoes are quite common and may range from mild to severe. A Hammer toe
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 hammertoe
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.
Most hammertoes are caused by wearing ill-fitting, tight or high-heeled shoes over a long period of time. Shoes that don?t fit well can crowd the toes, putting pressure on the middle toes and causing
them to curl downward. Other causes include genes. Some people are born with hammertoe, bunions. These knobby bumps sometimes develop at the side of the big toe. This can make the big toe bend toward
the other toes. The big toe can then overlap and crowd the smaller toes. Arthritis in a toe joint can lead to hammertoe.
Pain upon pressure at the top of the bent toe from footwear. The formation of corns on the top of the joint. Redness and swelling at the joint contracture. Restricted or painful motion of the toe
joint. Pain in the ball of the foot at the base of the affected toe.
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 your toe 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
Treating hammertoe involves straightening the toe, making tendons in the toes flexible again, and preventing the problem from returning. Some simple treatments include splinting the toe to keep it
straight and to stretch the tendons of the foot. Using over-the-counter pads, cushions or straps to decrease discomfort Exercising the toes to relax the foot tendons (a session with a physical
therapist may help you get started with foot exercises) Wearing shoes that fit properly and allow toes plenty of room to stretch out.
Toe Relocation procedures are ancillary procedures that are performed in conjunction with one of the two methods listed about (joint resection or joint mending). When the toe is deformed (buckled) at
the ball of the foot, then this joint often needs to be re-positioned along with ligament releases/repair to get the toe straight. A temporary surgical rod is needed to hold the toe aligned while the
Good circulation is essential. When you're sitting down, put your feet up. If you've been sitting for a while, stretch your legs and feet. Give yourself a foot massage or trade foot massages with
someone you love. A warm foot bath is also a good idea. Most people have one foot that's bigger than the other. Fit your shoes to the bigger foot. Buy shoes at the end of the day, as feet tend to
swell a bit and you will get a better sense of fit. When buying shoes, wear the socks that you will be using when wearing that shoe. For example, wear an athletic sock when buying athletic shoes and
a dress sock when purchasing dress shoes. If the shoe does not feel good at the time of purchase, then it will never feel good.