is the result of deformed toe joints, tight tendons that attach to the
toe, and misaligned toe bones. The usual appearance of a hammertoe is a toe bent upward at the middle toe joint, so that the top of this joint rubs against the top of the shoe. The remainder of the
toe is bent downward so that, instead of the entire toe bearing weight, only the tip of the toe bears weight. Pain can occur on the top of the toe, the tip of the toe, or in both areas.
Your shoes, your genetic predisposition, an underlying medical condition or all of these can make you susceptible to developing one of these deformities of the toes. The genes your parents gave you.
When it comes to genetics, the foot type you?re born with predisposes you to developing this type of joint deformity over a lifetime. For many, a flat flexible foot leads to hammertoes as the foot
tries to stabilize against a flattening arch. Those with high arches can also form hammertoes as the extensor tendons overpower the flexors.
The symptoms of hammertoe include a curling toe, pain or discomfort in the toes and ball of the foot or the front of the leg, especially when toes are stretched downward. Thickening of the skin above
or below the affected toe with the formation of corns or calluses. Difficulty finding shoes that fit well. In its early stages, hammertoe is not obvious. Frequently, hammertoe does not cause any
symptoms except for the claw-like toe shape.
Your healthcare provider will examine your foot, checking for redness, swelling, corns, and calluses. Your provider will also measure the flexibility of your toes and test how much feeling you have
in your toes. You may have blood tests to check for arthritis, diabetes, and infection.
Non Surgical Treatment
Treatment options hammertoe
for a hammertoe are based on the severity of the
condition. A hammertoe caused by inappropriate footwear can be corrected by wearing properly fitting shoes. If a high arch caused the condition, wearing toe pads or insoles in your shoes can help.
These pads work by shifting your toe?s position, which relieves pain and corrects the appearance of your toe.
There are several surgical techniques used to treat hammertoes. When the problem is less severe, the doctor will remove a small piece of bone at the involved joint and realign the toe joint. More
severe hammer toes may need more complicated surgery.
The key to prevention is to wear shoes that fit you properly and provide plenty of room for your toes. Here?s how to get the right fit. Have your feet properly measured. The best way to do this is to
get someone to draw the outline of your foot while you stand barefoot with your full weight on it, then measure the outline at the widest point. Measure the soles of your shoes. Ideally, they should
be as wide as your feet, but certainly no more than half an inch narrower. Length matters, too, of course: your shoes should be half an inch longer than your longest toe.