A Hammer toes
is the result of deformed toe joints, tight tendons that Hammer toes
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.
People who have a high-arched feet have an increased chance of hammer toes occurring. Also, patients with bunion deformities notice the second toe elevating and becoming hammered to make room for the
big toe that is moving toward it. Some patients damage the ligament that holds the toe in place at the bottom of the joint that connects the toe and foot. When this ligament (plantar plate) is
disrupted or torn, the toe floats upward at this joint. Hammer toes also occur in women wearing ill-fitting shoes or high heels, and children wearing shoes they have outgrown.
A soft corn, or heloma molle, may exist in the web space between toes. This is more commonly caused by an exostosis, which is basically an extra growth of bone possibly due to your foot structure. As
this outgrowth of excessive bone rubs against other toes, there is friction between the toes and a corn forms for your protection.
Hammertoes are progressive, they don?t go away by themselves and usually they will get worse over time. However, not all cases are alike, some hammertoes progress more rapidly than others. Once your
foot and ankle surgeon has evaluated your hammertoes, a treatment plan can be developed that is suited to your needs.
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.
Hammer toe can be corrected by surgery if conservative measures fail. Usually, surgery is done on an outpatient basis with a local anesthetic. The actual procedure will depend on the type and extent
of the deformity. After the surgery, there may be some stiffness, swelling and redness and the toe may be slightly longer or shorter than before. You will be able to walk, but should not plan any
long hikes while the toe heals, and should keep your foot elevated as much as possible.