is a type of crooked toe that involve unnatural contracture, or bending, of your toes. In most cases, a
hammertoe is characterized by a toe malposition in which the end of your affected toe points down and the first joint of your same toe-your proximal interphalangeal joint-points up. This crooked toe
syndrome usually leads to rubbing within your shoe and pain. A hammertoe resembles an upside-down letter v when viewed from the side. This crooked toe syndrome most commonly affects your second to
fifth toes, though it may also affect your big toe. This health problem is more commonly experienced by women than men.
People who are born with long bones in their toes are more likely to develop hammer toe. Children who wear shoes they have outgrown may develop this condition. People who wear very narrow shoes or
high-heeled shoes are also more likely to develop a hammer toe. Sometimes, pressure from a bunion can cause hammer toe. Rheumatoid arthritis is another a risk factor.
Common reasons patients seek treatment for toe problems are toe pain on the knuckle. Thick toe calluses. Interference with walking/activities. Difficulty fitting shoes. Worsening toe deformity. Pain
at the ball of hammertoe
the foot. Unsightly appearance. Toe deformities
(contractures) come in varying degrees of severity, from slight to severe. The can be present in conjunction with a bunion, and develop onto a severe disfiguring foot deformity. Advanced cases, the
toe can dislocate on top of the foot. Depending on your overall health, symptoms and severity of the hammer toe, the condition may be treated conservatively and/or with surgery.
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
If you have hammer toe, avoiding tight shoes and high heels may provide relief. Initial (non-surgical) treatment for hammer toe involves wearing shoes with plenty of room in the toe area. Shoes
should be at least one-half inch longer than the longest toe. Stretching and strengthening exercises for the toes (such as picking up items with the toes or stretching the toes by hand) are also
recommended. Sometimes orthopedists recommend special pads, cushions, or slings to help relieve the pain of hammer toe.
Sometimes when the joints are removed the two bones become one as they are fused in a straightened position. Many times one toe will be longer than another and a piece of bone is removed to bring the
toes in a more normal length in relation to each other. Sometimes tendons will be lengthened, or soft tissue around the joints will be cut or rebalanced to fix the deformity. Angular corrections may
also be needed. The surgeon may place fixation in your foot as it heals which may include a pin, or wires.