is foot deformity that typically affects second, third or
fourth toes. The condition is called hammertoe because of the unnatural position your toes form. Hammertoe causes your toe to bend upward at the middle joint in a way that looks similar to a hammer.
While it may not be painful at first, this condition usually worsens with time and it becomes difficult to extend your toes. Sometimes, calluses or corns form in association with hammertoe.
Most hammertoes are caused by wearing ill-fitting, tight or high-heeled shoes over a long period of time. Shoes that don't fit well can crowd the toes, putting pressure on the middle toes and causing
them to curl downward. The condition may be more likely when the second toe is longer than the first toe or when the arch of the foot is flat. Hammertoe can also be present at birth (congenital).
Hammertoe also can be caused by a bunion, which is the knobby bump that sometimes develops at the side of the big toe. A bunion causes the big toe to bend toward the other toes. The big toe can then
overlap and crowd the smaller toes. Occasionally, a hammertoe is inherited or caused by arthritis in the toe joint.
For some people, a hammer toe is nothing more than an unsightly deformity that detracts from the appearance of the foot. However, discomfort may develop if a corn or callus develops on the end or top
of the toe. If pressure and friction continue on the end or top of the toe, a painful ulcer may develop. Discomfort or pain can lead to difficulty walking.
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
Conservative treatment is limited to accommodation, not correction, of the deformity, though some patients find the relief they can get from these options to be more than enough to put off or even
avoid surgery. These include better Footwear. Shoe gear with a wider toe box and higher volume causes less friction to the toes. Toe Braces and Strapping. Some toe braces and strapping techniques
take some pressure off the toes during gait. Custom molded orthotics can redistribute the forces through the tendons that control the toe, lessening the pain and extent of the deformity.The calluses
on the toe and the ball of the foot can be shaved occasionally to reduce some pain and pressure, although they will return due to the constant deformity.
If a person's toes have become very inflexible and unresponsive to non-invasive means of treatment and if open sores have developed as a result of constant friction, they may receive orthopaedic
surgery to correct the deformity. The operation is quick and is commonly performed as an out-patient procedure. The doctor administers a local anesthetic into the person's foot to numb the site of
the operation. The person may remain conscious as the surgeon performs the procedure. A sedative might also be Hammer toe
administered to help calm the person if they are too anxious.
To help prevent hammer toes from developing, wear shoes or boots that provide sufficient width in the toe box to ensure minimal compression. Use inserts that help the toes flatten out and spread and
give sufficient support to the metatarsal arch in the forefoot. If hammer toes have already formed, padded socks help protect the tops and the tips of the hammer toes and may reduce pain from rubbing