A Hammer toes
is a toe that is contracted at the PIP joint (middle joint in the toe), potentially
leading to severe pressure and pain. Ligaments and tendons that have Hammer toe
tightened cause the toe's joints
to curl downwards. Hammer toes may occur in any toe except the big toe. There is often discomfort at the top part of the toe due to rubbing against the shoe.
Wearing shoes that squeeze the toes or high heels that jam the toes into the front of the shoe. Other causes or factors in the development of hammertoes can include an injury such as badly stubbing
your toe, arthritis and nerve and muscle damage from diseases such as diabetes. And, hammertoes tend to run in families, although it is more likely the faulty foot mechanics that lead to hammertoes
that are inherited, not the hammertoes themselves. Hammertoe generally affect the smaller toes of the foot, especially the second toe, which for many people is the longest toe. It's uncommon for the
big toe to be bent this way.
At first, a hammertoe or mallet toe may maintain its flexibility and lie flat when you're not wearing crowded footwear. But eventually, the tendons of the toe may contract and tighten, causing your
toe to become permanently stiff. Your shoes can rub against the raised portion of the toe or toes, causing painful corns or calluses.
Hammertoes are progressive, they don?t go away by themselves and usually they will get worse over time. However, not all cases are alike, some hammertoes progress more rapidly than others. Once your
foot and ankle surgeon has evaluated your hammertoes, a treatment plan can be developed that is suited to your needs.
Non Surgical Treatment
Any forefoot problems that cause pain or discomfort should be given prompt attention. Ignoring the symptoms can aggravate the condition and lead to a breakdown of tissue, or possibly even infection.
Conservative treatment of mallet toes begins with accommodating the deformity. The goal is to relieve pressure, reduce friction, and transfer forces from the sensitive areas. Shoes with a high and
broad toe box (toe area) are recommended for people suffering from forefoot deformities such as mallet toes. This prevents further irritation in the toe area from developing. Other conservative
treatment includes forefoot supports such as gel toe caps, gel toe shields and toe crests. Gel forefoot supports provide immediate comfort and relief from common forefoot disorders without drying the
In advanced cases in which the toe has become stiff and permanently bent, the toe can be straightened with surgery. One type of surgery involves removing a small section of the toe bone to allow the
toe to lie flat. Surgery for hammertoe usually is classified as a cosmetic procedure. Cosmetic foot surgeries sometimes result in complications such as pain or numbness, so it's better to treat the
problem with a shoe that fits properly.