is a painful deformity wherein a toe bends unnaturally. Hammertoe can develop on any of the toes, but generally affects the middle three
and, most often, the second toe. When unusual stress is applied over a period of years, the joints and tendons of your foot can cease to function in a balanced manner and toes, in an effort to
compensate, can begin to bend into the hammertoe shape. Hammertoes tend to run in families.
Ill-fitting shoes or a muscle imbalance are the most common causes of Hammer Toe. If there is an issue with a muscle in the second, third or fourth toes preventing them from straightening, Hammer Toe
can result. If one of these toes is bent long enough in one position, the muscles tighten and cannot stretch out. Left untreated, surgery may be required. Women are especially prone to developing
Hammer Toe because of their shoes. Hammer Toe results from shoes that don?t fit properly. Shoes that narrow toward the toe, pushing smaller toes into a bend position for extended periods of time.
High heels that force the foot down into a narrow space, forcing the toes against the shoe, increasing the bend in the toe.
A hammertoe may be present but not always painful unless irritated by shoes. One may have enlarged toe joints with some thickened skin and no redness or swelling. However, if hammertoe
shoes create pressure on the joint, the pain will usually range from pinching and squeezing to sharp and
burning. In long standing conditions, the dislocated joints can cause the pain of arthritis.
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
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.
Surgery to correct for a hammertoe may be performed as a day procedure. There are several different types of procedures that can be used depending on the foot structure and if the deformity is
flexible or rigid.