The smallest four toes of each foot have three bony segments connected by two joints. Hammertoe is a deformity in which one or more of the small toes develops a bend at the joint between the first
and second segments. The tip of the toe turns downward, making it look like a hammer or claw. The second toe is the one most often affected. hammertoe
may be more likely to occur when the second toe is longer than the first toe or when the arch of the foot is flat.
Some causes of hammertoe are shoes that are too tight or short, shoes with high heels, injury, Diseases that affect the nerves and muscles, such as arthritis and diabetes. When shoes do not fit well,
over time the pressure of the shoes pushes the toes into a bent position. After a hammertoe
while, the muscles become unable to
straighten the toe, even when you are not wearing shoes. Similarly, when there is damage or disease of the nerves or muscles in the toes, the toe may rest in the bent position until the tendons
become permanently shortened and the toe becomes a rigid hammertoe. The risk of developing a hammertoe increases with age. Women are much more likely to develop a hammertoe than men.
At first, a hammertoe or mallet toe may maintain its flexibility and lie flat when you're not wearing crowded footwear. But eventually, the tendons of the toe may contract and tighten, causing your
toe to become permanently stiff. Your shoes can rub against the raised portion of the toe or toes, causing painful corns or calluses.
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 starts with new shoes that have soft, roomy toe boxes. Shoes should be one-half inch longer than your longest toe. (Note: For many people, the second toe is longer than the big
toe.) Avoid wearing tight, narrow, high-heeled shoes. You may also be able to find a shoe with a deep toe box that accommodates the hammer toe. Or, a shoe specialist (Pedorthist) may be able to
stretch the toe box so that it bulges out around the toe. Sandals may help, as long as they do not pinch or rub other areas of the foot.
Sometimes surgery can not be avoided. If needed, the surgery chosen is decided by whether we are dealing with a flexible or rigid hammer toe. If the surgery is on a flexible hammer toe, it is
performed on soft tissue structures like the tendon and or capsule of the flexor hammer toe. Rigid hammer toes need bone surgeries into the joint of the toe to repair it. This bone surgery is called
If you notice signs of hammertoes in your feet, try some of these suggestions. Look for shoes with flat heels and plenty of space to allow your toes to stretch and spread. We're proud to say that all
of our shoes at Soft Star feature these qualities. If you're unwilling to give up your heels, at least try to minimize how much you wear them. Instead of wearing heels every day, is it possible to
save them for more special occasions? Giving your feet a break from time to time can do wonders. Practice picking up a towel by grabbing it with your toes. You can also try picking up small objects,
such as dice. Doing this several times a day can help stretch and strengthen your toe muscles. Show Your Feet Some Love. Getting a foot massage and stretching your calves can help loosen muscles and