A Hammer toe
is a deformity of the middle joint of a toe, producing a clenched, clawlike appearance in the affected
digit. The tendons in the toe become abnormally contracted, causing the toe to bend downward, which, in turn, forces the joint to protrude upward. A mallet toe is a deformity in which the end joint
of a toe becomes bent downward, so that the toe curls underneath itself. In either case the affected joints are stiff, and often the toe cannot be straightened out. Constant rubbing against shoes may
furthermore cause a painful corn (a round patch of rough, thickened, calloused skin) to develop over the joint or at the tip of the affected toe. Hammer and mallet toes may occur in any toe, although
the second toe is the most common site. These deformities are often painful and limit the toe?s range of motion-sometimes requiring surgery.
More often than not, wearing shoes that do not fit a person well for too long may actually cause hammer toes. Wearing shoes that are too narrow or too tight for the person for extended periods of
time may eventually take a toll on the person's feet. The same is true for women who like wearing high-heeled shoes with narrow toe boxes.
At first, a hammertoe or mallet toe may maintain its flexibility and lie flat when you're not wearing crowded footwear. But eventually, the tendons of the toe may contract and tighten, causing your
toe to become permanently stiff. Your shoes can rub against the raised portion of the toe or toes, causing painful corns or calluses.
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 hammertoe
other disorders that can cause hammertoe.
Non Surgical Treatment
Your podiatrist may recommend conservative treatment techniques for your hammertoes based on your foot structure, which will likely involve removing any thick, painful skin, padding your painful
area, and recommending for you shoes that give your curled toes adequate room. Conservative care strategies for this health purpose may also involve the use of Correct Toes, our toe straightening and
toe spacing device.
Ordinary hammertoe procedures often use exposed wires which extend outside the end of toes for 4-6 weeks. Common problems associated with wires include infection where the wires come out of the toe,
breakage, pain from hitting the wire, and lack of rotational stability causing the toe to look crooked. In addition, wires require a second in-office procedure to remove them, which can cause a lot
of anxiety for many patients. Once inserted, implants remain within the bone, correcting the pain and deformity of hammertoes while eliminating many of the complications specific traditional
The easiest way to avoid hammertoe is to wear shoes that fit properly. Orthopaedic surgeons and podiatrists recommend shoes that have roomy toe boxes, which give the toes plenty of space to flex.
Shoes that fit well should also cushion the arch in the middle of the foot. This helps to distribute the weight of the body evenly across the bones and joints of the foot. The size and shape of a
foot can change with age, and many people inadvertently wear the wrong size shoe. Podiatrists recommend having your feet measured regularly to ensure that your shoes fit properly.