a bending and hardening of the joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes. If you look down at
your feet and you can?t see the tips of the toenails, you might suffer from hammertoe. Early signs of hammertoe are a bend in the joint of any toe except the big toe. The bend in the joint causes the
top of the toe to appear to curl under as if it?s ?hammering? into the floor.
If a foot is flat (pes planus, pronated), the flexor muscles on the bottom of the foot can overpower the others because a flatfoot is longer than a foot with a normal arch. When the foot flattens and
lengthens, greater than normal tension is exerted on the flexor muscles in the toes. The toes are not strong enough to resist this tension and they may be overpowered, resulting in a contracture of
the toe, or a bending down of the toe at the first toe joint (the proximal interphalangeal joint) which results in a hammertoe. If a foot has a high arch (pes cavus, supinated), the extensor muscles
on the top of the foot can overpower the muscles on the bottom of the foot because the high arch weakens the flexor muscles. This allows the extensor muscles to exert greater than normal tension on
the toes. The toes are not strong enough to resist this tension and they may be overpowered, resulting in a contracture of the toe, or a bending down of the toe at the first toe joint (the proximal
interphalangeal joint) which results in a hammertoe.
Hammertoe and mallet toe feature an abnormal bend in the joints of one or more of your toes. Moving the affected toe may be difficult or painful. Corns and calluses can result from the toe rubbing
against the inside of your shoes. See your doctor if you have persistent foot pain that affects your ability to walk properly.
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 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.
Sometimes surgery can not be avoided. If needed, the surgery chosen is decided by whether we are dealing with a flexible or rigid hammer toe. If the surgery is on a flexible hammer toe, it is
performed on soft tissue structures like the tendon and or capsule of the flexor hammer toe. Rigid hammer toes need bone surgeries into the joint of the toe to repair it. This bone surgery is called
Few people realize that their feet grow over the years: actually, the heel stays the same, but the front of the foot becomes wider and longer. The result, most women wear shoes that fit at the heel
but are much too narrow in the front. Buy shoes that fit the longer foot. For two out of three people, one foot is hammertoes
significantly bigger than the other. Have both feet measured whenever you buy shoes.
Have your feet measured while you're standing, and buy shoes that fit the larger foot. Shop at the end of the day, when foot swelling is greatest. No shoe should feel tight. Don't go by numbers. You
may think of yourself as a size 8B, but size varies from shoe to shoe. There is no standardization, so pick the shoes that fit best. Limit high-heel use. These shoes increase pressure on the front of
the foot by at least 50 percent, so wear them only for special occasions. Flat shoes are more comfortable than high heels, but they, too, can be hard on your feet, especially if they are thin-soled.
Change your shoes. If your shoes are too short or too narrow, get another pair. This is especially important for children going through periods of rapid growth. The toe area should be high enough so
that it doesn't rub against the top of your toes-especially if hammer toes have started to develop.