a bending and hardening of the joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes. If you look down
at your feet and you can?t see the tips of the toenails, you might suffer from hammertoe. Early signs of hammertoe are a bend in the joint of any toe except the big toe. The bend in the joint causes
the top of the toe to appear to curl under as if it?s ?hammering? into the floor.
Hammer toes can be due to a number of things. Several factors are known to increase the risk of developing hammer toes. Some people are just structurally prone to develop hammer toes (hereditary)
tight footwear is an important factor in the cause of hammer toes as well as providing the pressure that causes the symptoms, weaker small muscles in the foot may also play a role.
Signs and symptoms of hammertoe and mallet toe may include a hammer-like or claw-like appearance of a toe. In mallet toe, a hammertoe
deformity at the end of the toe, giving the toe a mallet-like appearance. Pain and difficulty moving
the toe. Corns and calluses resulting from the toe rubbing against the inside of your footwear. Both hammertoe and mallet toe can cause pain with walking and other foot movements.
Some questions your doctor may ask of you include, when did you first begin having foot problems? How much pain are your feet or toes causing you? Where is the pain located? What, if anything, seems
to improve your symptoms? What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms? What kind of shoes do you normally wear? Your doctor can diagnose hammertoe or mallet toe by examining your foot. Your
doctor may also order X-rays to further evaluate the bones and joints of your feet and toes.
Non Surgical Treatment
There are many non-surgical treatments to help relieve symptoms of hammertoe. The first step for many people is wearing the right size and type of shoe. Low-heeled shoes with a boxy or roomy toe area
are helpful. Cushioned insoles, customized orthopedic inserts, and pads can provided relief as well. Splints or straps may be used to help correct toe position. Your doctor may show you toe stretches
and exercises to perform. Your doctor can safely remove corns and calluses. You should not try to remove them at home.
If these treatments are not sufficient at correcting the hammer toe, an operation to straighten the toe may be necessary. This is often performed in conjunction with surgery for a bunion deformity.
The surgical treatment of a hammer toe can consist of either cutting the tendons to relieve the pressure that causes the deformity, or fusing the toe so that it points straight permanently.