When a person has Hammer toes
, the end of their toe bends downward and the middle
joint curls up. Eventually, the toe gets stuck in a stiff, claw-like position. When the inside of your shoe rubs against a hammer toe, corns, blisters or calluses may form on top of the toe or on the
bottom of your foot. This can make walking painful. You may also have pain in the joint where your big toe joins your foot. Hammer toe usually affects a person?s second toe (the toe next to the big
toe), but it can affect other toes too.
Risk factors for hammertoe include heredity, a second toe that is longer than the first (Morton foot), high arches or flat feet, injury in which the toe was jammed, rheumatoid arthritis, and, in
diabetics, abnormal foot mechanics resulting from muscle and nerve damage. Hammertoe may be precipitated by advancing age, weakness of small muscles in the foot (foot intrinsic muscles), and the
wearing of shoes that crowd the toes (too tight, too short, or with heels that are too high). The condition is more common in females than in males.
The most obvious symptom of hammertoe is the bent, hammer-like or claw-like appearance of one or more of your toes. Typically, the proximal joint of a toe will be bending upward and the distal joint
will be bending downward. In some cases, both joints may bend downward, causing the toes to curl under the foot. In the variation of mallet toe, only the distal joint bends downward. Other symptoms
may include Pain and stiffness during movement of the toe, Painful corns on the tops of the toe or toes from rubbing against the top of the shoe's toe box, Painful calluses on the bottoms of the toe
or toes, Pain on the bottom of the ball of the foot, Redness and swelling at the joints. If you have any of these symptoms, especially the hammer shape, pain or stiffness in a toe or toes, you should
consider consulting your physician. Even if you're not significantly bothered by some of these symptoms, the severity of a hammertoe can become worse over time and should be treated as soon as
possible. Up to a point hammertoes can be treated without surgery and should be taken care of before they pass that point. After that, surgery may be the only solution.
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. If the deformed toe is very painful, your doctor may recommend that you have a fluid sample withdrawn
from the joint with a needle so the fluid can be Hammer toe
checked for signs of infection or gout (arthritis from crystal
Non Surgical Treatment
Hammertoes that are not painful (asymptomatic) and still flexible may not require treatment. In mild cases, open-toed, low-heeled, or wider shoes and foam or moleskin pads can provide symptomatic
relief by reducing pressure. Taping (strapping) the affected toe can help to reduce deformity and pain. Physical therapy to instruct patients in exercises that passively stretch tight structures and
strengthen weak foot intrinsic muscles is also helpful with mild cases. Periodic trimming (debridement) of corns (clavi, helomata) by a podiatrist can provide temporary relief. Corticosteroid
injections are often very effective in reducing pain.
Surgically correcting a hammertoe is very technical and difficult, and requires a surgeon with superior capabilities and experience. The operation can be done at our office or the hospital with local
anesthetic. After making a small incision, the deformity is reduced and the tendons are realigned at the joint. You will be able to go home the same day with a special shoe! If you are sick and tired
of not fitting your shoes, you can no longer get relief from pads, orthopedic shoes or pedicures, and have corns that are ugly, sensitive and painful, then you certainly may be a good surgical
candidate. In order to have this surgery, you can not have poor circulation and and must have a clean bill of health.
wear sensible shoes. Here are some tips. Most people have one foot that's bigger than the other. Fit your shoes to the bigger foot. Buy your shoes at the end of the day as your feet tend to swell a
bit and you will get a better sense of fit. When you buy your shoes, wear the sock that you will be using when wearing that shoe - wear a sports sock when buyingtrainers, for example. As you get
older, your feet get bigger. Get your feet measured every time you buy shoes. Don't go by shoe sizes. Shoe sizes vary among manufacturers; a shoe is the right size only when it fits comfortably. The
ball of your foot should fit into the widest part of the shoe. A shoe should be sturdy so that it only bends in the ball of the foot, exactly where your big toes bend. Any shoe that can be bent
anywhere along the sole or twisted side to side is generally too flimsy. There should be at least 1.5 cm between the tip of your longest toe and the front of the shoe. Never buy shoes that feel tight
and expect them to stretch with wearing. If you have prominent areas on your feet such as hammer toes and bunions, avoid shoes with a lot of stitching or multiple pieces of fabric, as these stitched
areas tend not to stretch to accommodate various toe deformities. Your shoes shouldn't ride up and down on your heel as you walk. The higher the heel, the less safe the shoe. Check children's shoes