A Hammer toe
is a deformity of the second, third or fourth toe in which the toe becomes bent at the
middle joint; hence, it resembles a hammer. Claw toe and mallet toe are related conditions. While a hammer toe is contracted at the Hammer toes
first toe joint, a mallet toe is contracted at the second toe joint,
and a claw toe is contracted at both joints. According to the 2012 National Foot Health Assessment conducted by the NPD Group for the Institute for Preventive Foot Health, 3 percent of U.S. adults
age 21 and older (about 7 million people) have experienced hammer toe or claw toe. The condition is significantly more prevalent in females than in males.
Hammer toes can be due to a number of things. Several factors are known to increase the risk of developing hammer toes. Some people are just structurally prone to develop hammer toes (hereditary)
tight footwear is an important factor in the cause of hammer toes as well as providing the pressure that causes the symptoms, weaker small muscles in the foot may also play a role.
Common symptoms of hammertoes include pain or irritation of the affected toe when wearing shoes. corns and calluses (a buildup of skin) on the toe, between two toes, or on the ball of the foot. Corns
are caused by constant friction against the shoe. They may be soft or hard, depending upon their location. Inflammation, redness, or a burning sensation. Contracture of the toe. In more severe cases
of hammertoe, open sores may form.
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
Putting padding between your toes and strapping them in place can help to stop pain caused by the toes rubbing. Custom-made insoles for your shoes will help to take the pressure off any painful
areas. Special shoes that are wider and deeper than normal can stop your toes rubbing. However if your pain persists your consultant may recommend an surgery.
The technique the surgeon applies during the surgery depends on how much flexibility the person's affected toes still retain. If some flexibility has still been preserved in their affected toes, the
hammer toes might be corrected through making a small incision into the toe so the surgeon can manipulate the tendon that is forcing the person's toes into a curved position. If, however, the
person's toes have become completely rigid, the surgeon might have to do more than re-aligning the person's tendons. Some pieces of bone may have to be removed so the person's toe has the ability to
straighten out. If this is the case, some pins are attached onto the person's foot afterwards to fix their bones into place while the injured tissue heals.