A Hammer toes
is a contracture-or bending-of the toe at the first joint of the digit,
called the proximal interphalangeal joint. This bending causes the toe to appear like an upside-down V when looked at from the side. Any toe can be involved, but the condition usually affects the
second through fifth toes, known as the lesser digits. Hammertoes are more common to females than males.
The APMA says that hammertoe can result from a muscle imbalance in the foot that puts undue pressure on the joints, ultimately causing deformity. Inherited factors can contribute to the likelihood of
developing hammertoe. Arthritis, stroke or nerve damage from diabetes or toe injuries such as jamming or breaking a toe can affect muscle balance in the foot, leading to hammertoe. The Mayo Clinic
says that wearing improper shoes often causes hammertoe. Shoes that squeeze the toes, such as those with a tight toe box or with heels higher than two inches, can put too much pressure on the toe
Pain on the bottom of your foot, especially under the ball of your foot, is one of the most common symptoms associated with hammertoes. Other common signs and symptoms of hammertoes include pain at
the top of your bent toe from footwear pressure. Corns on the top of your bent toe. Redness and swelling in your affected area. Decreased joint range of motion in your affected toe joints.
Although hammertoes are readily apparent, to arrive at a diagnosis the foot and ankle surgeon will obtain a thorough history of your symptoms and examine your foot. During the physical examination,
the doctor may attempt to reproduce your symptoms by manipulating your foot and will study the contractures of the toes. In addition, the foot and ankle surgeon may take x-rays to determine the
degree of the deformities and assess any changes that may have occurred.
Non Surgical Treatment
Non-surgical methods for hammer toes (claw toes) are aimed at decreasing symptoms (i.e., pain and/or calluses) and/or limiting the progression into a larger problem. Simple treatments patients can do
are wear supportive shoes. Use an arch support. Wear shoes with a wide toe box. Modify activities. Spot stretch shoes. Periodic callus care.
severe hammer toe, you will need an operation to straighten the joint. The surgery
often involves cutting or moving tendons and ligaments. Sometimes the bones on each side of the joint need to be connected (fused) together. Most of the time, you will go home on the same day as the
surgery. The toe may still be stiff afterward, and it may be shorter. If the condition is treated early, you can often avoid surgery. Treatment will reduce pain and walking difficulty.
The best ways to prevent a hammertoe are. Wear shoes that fit well. Shoes should be one-half inch longer than your longest toe. Shoes should be wide enough and the toe box should be high enough to
give the foot room to move. Don?t wear shoes with heels over 2 inches high. If a toe starts to look like a hammertoe, buy shoes that have an extra high toe box. Wear corn pad removers or cushion pads
on top of the affected toe. See your healthcare provider any time you have foot pain that does not go away quickly or is more than mild pain. Foot pain is not normal.