Hammer toes are usually not a serious condition, but can become painful as the bent joint rubs against the inside of the shoe, causing irritation, corns, or calluses on the top of the middle joint or
the tip of the toe. A hammertoe
may also cause occasional shooting
pains throughout the toes or elsewhere in the foot. A hammertoe has a kink or contracture in its second joint--called the proximal interphalangeal joint--that causes the toe to bend upward in the
middle, giving it a hammer-like appearance. The raised part of the toe often rubs on shoes, leading to the formation of corns or calluses. Usually hammertoe affects the smaller toes, causing pain and
interfering with the ability to walk normally.
The muscles of each toe work in pairs. When the toe muscles get out of balance, a hammer toe can form. Muscle imbalance puts a lot of pressure on the toe's tendons and joints. This pressure forces
the toe into a hammerhead shape. How do the toe muscles get out of balance? There are three main reasons. Your genes, you may have inherited a tendency to develop hammer toes because your foot is
slightly unstable - such as a flat foot. But high-arched feet can also get hammer toes. Arthritis. Injury to the toe: ill-fitting shoes are the main culprits of this cause. If shoes are too tight,
too short, or too pointy, they push the toes out of balance. Pointy, high-heeled shoes put particularly severe pressure on the toes.
The symptoms of a hammer toe include the following. Pain at the top of the bent toe upon pressure from footwear. 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.
The earlier a hammertoe is diagnosed, the better the prognosis and treatment options. Your doctor will be able to diagnose your hammertoe with a simple examination of the foot and your footwear. He
or she may take an x-ray to check the severity of the condition. You may also be asked about your symptoms, your normal daily activities, and your medical and family history.
Non Surgical Treatment
Wearing proper footwear may ease your foot pain. Low-heeled shoes with a deep toe box and flexible material covering the toes may help. Make sure there's a half-inch of space between your longest toe
and the inside tip of your shoe. Allowing adequate space for your toes will help relieve pressure and pain. Avoid over-the-counter corn-removal products, many of which contain acid that can cause
severe skin irritation. It's also risky to try shaving or cutting an unsightly corn off your toe. Foot wounds can easily get infected, and foot infections are often difficult to treat, especially if
you have diabetes or poor circulation.
Until recently, wires were used for surgical correction. In this technique, one or more wires are inserted into the bone through both the affected joint and a normally healthy toe joint, and the end
of the toe. These wires stay in place for four Hammer toes
to six weeks, protruding from the end of the toes.
Due to the protruding wire, simple things such working, driving, bathing and even sleeping are difficult while these wires are in place. During this recovery period, patients often experience
discomfort during sleep and are subject possible infection.
It?s important to understand that preventing hammertoe can sometimes be difficult, since most symptoms do not appear until the condition is well developed. Nonetheless, here are some tips to help you
prevent hammertoe. Do not wear shoes that are too narrow or short. Check your children?s shoe size often to ensure that their shoes still fit correctly. Wear comfortable shoes that fit you properly.
Remember that your feet widen and lengthen with age.