Essentially, there's one consistent type of hammertoes
condition in which your toes are contracted into a hammer or upside-down "V" shape. However, depending on its severity, hammertoe is characterized into two forms. Flexible hammertoe is hammertoe in
which the joints of the toes are still moveable or flexible and can be treated with nonsurgical therapies. Rigid hammertoe is the more serious condition in which the joints' muscles and tendons have
lost any flexibility and the contraction cannot be corrected by nonsurgical means. As a result, surgery is generally required to deal with the problem. This is why it's important to consult a
physician as soon as the problem is recognized for the possibility of successful nonsurgical treatment.
Hereditary and shoe gear are probably the most likely reasons to develop a hammer toe. Tight pointy shoes may cause a hammer toes. High heels also can cause hammer toes. A deformed toe often develops
over time, and certain types of feet may be predisposed. Some patients may develop a hammer toe or cross over toe (of the 2nd toe) due to a bunion of the big toe.
Symptoms of a hammertoe are usually first noticed as a corn on the top of the toe or at the tip which produces pain with walking or wearing tight shoes. Most people feel a corn is due to a skin
problem on their toes, which in fact, it is protecting the underlying bone deformity. A corn on the toe is sometimes referred to as a heloma dura or heloma durum, meaning hard corn. This is most
common at the level of the affected joint due to continuous friction of the deformity against your shoes.
Your healthcare provider will examine your foot, checking for redness, swelling, corns, and calluses. Your provider will hammertoe
measure the flexibility of your toes and test how much feeling you have in your toes. You may have blood tests to check for arthritis, diabetes, and infection.
Non Surgical Treatment
Inserts in your shoes can be used to help relieve pressure on the toes from the deformity. Splints/Straps. These can be used to help re-align and stretch your toes and correct the muscle imbalance
and tendon shortening. One of the most common types are toe stretchers like the yogatoe. Chiropody. A chiropodist can remove calluses or corns, areas of hard skin that have formed to make the foot
more comfortable.Steroid injections can help to reduce pain and inflammation.
If a person's toes have become very inflexible and unresponsive to non-invasive means of treatment and if open sores have developed as a result of constant friction, they may receive orthopaedic
surgery to correct the deformity. The operation is quick and is commonly performed as an out-patient procedure. The doctor administers a local anesthetic into the person's foot to numb the site of
the operation. The person may remain conscious as the surgeon performs the procedure. A sedative might also be administered to help calm the person if they are too anxious.
The number-one hammertoe prevention tip is to wear properly fitting shoes. If your shoes feel too snug, go to your local shoe store and have the length and width of your feet measured. If you wear
high heels, keep the heel height to 2 inches or less. Wearing shoes with high heels increases the pressure on your toes and causes them to bend. It can also cause the formation of corns and a high