is often a harmless and painless condition. Although the toe may be curled permanently, hammertoe should not
cause any long-term problems other than a more difficult time finding shoes that fit. If hammertoe is treated and preventive measures are followed, the condition should not return. Wearing tight or
constricting shoes can cause hammertoe to return.
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 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 treatment options vary with the type and severity of each hammer toe, although identifying the deformity early in its development is important to avoid surgery. Your podiatric physician will
examine and X-ray the affected area and recommend a treatment plan specific to your condition.
Non Surgical Treatment
Early on, when a hammertoe first starts and is still flexible, here are some ways it might be treated. Your healthcare provider may splint or tape the toe into the correct, normal position. You can
use your fingers to stretch your toes and toe joints toward a more normal position. Exercise your toes by trying to pick up marbles with them or by wadding up a towel on the floor with your toes.
Padding may be used to change where your weight falls when you walk on the foot.
Joint resection procedures involves removing part of one of the two small joints of the toe directly underneath where the digit is crooked. The purpose is to make room for the toe to be re-positioned
flat or straight. Because hammer toes become rigid or hammertoe
with time, removing the joint becomes the only option when the knuckle is stiff. Its important to understand that this procedure does not involve the joint of the ball of the foot, rather the a small
joint of the toe. Medical terminology for this procedure is called a proximal interphalangeal joint arthroplasty or a distal interphalangeal joint arthroplasty, with the latter involving the joint
closer to the tip of the toe.