A hammer toe can be defined as a condition that causes your toe to bend downward instead of pointing forward. While it can occur on any toe on your foot, it usually affects the second or third toe.
If your baby toe curls instead of buckling, it is also considered a hammer toe. There are two types of hammer toes. If your toes still can move around at the joint, then it is considered a flexible
hammer toe. It is a milder form of the condition and there are more treatment options. The other type is called a rigid Hammer toe
, which occurs when the tendons in your toe become so Hammer toes
rigid that they push your toe joint out of alignment, and it cannot move at all. Typically, you
will need surgery to fix it.
Hammer toe results from shoes that don't fit properly or a muscle imbalance, usually in combination with one or more other factors. Muscles work in pairs to straighten and bend the toes. If the toe
is bent and held in one position long enough, the muscles tighten and cannot stretch out. Shoes that narrow toward the toe may make your forefoot look smaller. But they also push the smaller toes
into a flexed (bent) position. The toes rub against the shoe, leading to the formation of corns and calluses, which further aggravate the condition. A higher heel forces the foot down and squishes
the toes against the shoe, increasing the pressure and the bend in the toe. Eventually, the toe muscles become unable to straighten the toe, even when there is no confining shoe.
If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to hammer toe. Talk to your doctor about symptoms such as a toe that curls down, corns on the top of a toe, calluses on the sole of the foot
or bottom of the toe, pain in the middle joint of a toe, discomfort on the top of a toe, difficulty finding any shoes that fit comfortably, cramping in a toe, and sometimes also the foot and leg,
difficult or painful motion of a toe joint, pain in the ball of the foot or at the base of a toe.
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
Symptoms of hammer toe might be helped through corn pads or cushions to alleviate them. If the person's hammer toes were caused by an underlying disease, the person should ask for their doctor's
advice prior to performing any exercises without consent. It is also important for a person with hammer toes to remember that they must not attempt to treat or remove corns by themselves. If open
cuts result from attempts to remove them, an infection becomes a very real possibility. People who experience diabetes or conditions that lead to poor circulation in their feet need to be especially
There are generally two methods surgeons use to correct hammer toes, they are joint resection (arthroplasty) or bone mending (fusion), and the location where this is performed on the toe depends on
where the toe is buckled. Its important to recognize that most of the surgical work involved the joints of the toe, not the joint of the ball of the foot. Sometimes a toe relocation procedure is
needed when the joint of the ball of the foot is malaligned (subluxed or dislocated).