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.
Ill-fitting shoes or a muscle imbalance are the most common causes of Hammer Toe. If there is an issue with a muscle in the second, third or fourth toes preventing them from straightening, Hammer Toe
can result. If one of these toes is bent long enough in one position, the muscles tighten and cannot stretch out. Left untreated, surgery may be required. Women are especially prone to developing
Hammer Toe because of their shoes. Hammer Toe results from shoes that don?t fit properly. Shoes that narrow toward the toe, pushing smaller toes into a bend position for extended periods of time.
High heels that force the foot down into a narrow space, forcing the toes against the shoe, increasing the bend in the toe.
People who have painful hammertoes visit their podiatrist because their affected toe is either rubbing on the end their shoe (signaling a contracted flexor tendon), rubbing on the top of their shoe
(signaling a contracted extensor tendon), or rubbing on another toe and causing a painful buildup of thick skin, known as a corn.
Some questions your doctor may ask of you include, when did you first begin having foot problems? How much pain are your feet or toes causing you? Where is the pain located? What, if anything, seems
to improve your symptoms? What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms? What kind of shoes do you normally wear? Your doctor can diagnose hammertoe or mallet toe by examining your foot. Your
doctor may also order X-rays to further evaluate the bones and joints of your feet and toes.
Non Surgical Treatment
Treatment options 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.
If conservative measures fail to provide relief, or if your hammertoe is in advanced stages with rigidity and a significant amount of pain, surgery may be required. Some patients also require surgery
if they have open sores or wounds related to their hammertoe. For patients who also suffer from bunions, a combined procedure may be appropriate, addressing both conditions within the same surgery.
Recovery time will vary from patient to patient, depending on the extent of the hammertoes
surgical repair and other conditions
that may also be present.
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.