is a deformity of the second, third or fourth toes in which the main toe joint is
bent upward like a claw. Initially, hammertoes are flexible and can be corrected with simple measures. Left untreated, they can become fixed and require surgery. Hammertoe 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 can?t stretch out.
The most common cause of hammertoe is a muscle/tendon imbalance. This imbalance, which leads to a bending of the toe, results from mechanical (structural) changes in the foot that occur over time in
some people. Hammertoes may be aggravated by shoes that don?t fit properly. A hammertoe may result if a toe is too long and is forced into a cramped position when a tight shoe is worn. Occasionally,
hammertoe is the result of an earlier trauma to the toe. In some people, hammertoes are inherited.
The most obvious sign of hammertoes are bent toes, other symptoms may include pain and stiffness during movement of the toe. Painful corns on the tops of the toe or toes from rubbing against the top
of the shoe's toe box. Painful calluses on the bottoms of the toe or toes. Pain on the bottom of the ball of the foot. Redness and swelling at the joints.
Most health care professionals can diagnose hammertoe simply by examining your toes and feet. X-rays of the feet are not needed to diagnose hammertoe, but they may be useful to look for signs of some
types of arthritis (such as rheumatoid arthritis) or other disorders that can cause hammertoe.
Non Surgical Treatment
In the earlier stages of hammer toe, when the toes can still be manually straightened, then conservative treatment is appropriate. This means wearing shoes which are a half size bigger than normal
and which are Hammer toes
not narrow around the toes. Exercises to stretch the toes out and strengthen the
muscles under the foot which balances the tightness of the top tendons are important. Padding or corn plasters can be used to ease the discomfort of any associated corns and calluses.
Surgically correcting a hammertoe is very technical and difficult, and requires a surgeon with superior capabilities and experience. The operation can be done at our office or the hospital with local
anesthetic. After making a small incision, the deformity is reduced and the tendons are realigned at the joint. You will be able to go home the same day with a special shoe! If you are sick and tired
of not fitting your shoes, you can no longer get relief from pads, orthopedic shoes or pedicures, and have corns that are ugly, sensitive and painful, then you certainly may be a good surgical
candidate. In order to have this surgery, you can not have poor circulation and and must have a clean bill of health.
In addition to wearing proper shoes and socks, walking often and properly can prevent foot injury and pain. The head should be erect, the back straight, and the arms relaxed and swinging freely at
the side. Step out on the heel, move forward with the weight on the outside of the foot, and complete the step by pushing off the big toe. Exercises specifically for the toe and feet are easy to
perform and help strengthen them and keep them flexible. Helpful exercises include the following. Raise and curl the toes 10 times, holding each position for a count of five. Put a rubber band around
both big toes and pull the feet away from each other. Count to five. Repeat 10 times. Pick up a towel with the toes. Repeat five times. Pump the foot up and down to stretch the calf and shin muscles.
Perform for 2 or 3 minutes.