is the general term used to describe an abnormal contraction or "buckling" of the toe because of a partial or
complete dislocation of one of the joints of the toe or the joint where the toe joins with the rest of the foot. As the toe becomes deformed, it rubs against the shoe and the irritation causes the
body to build up more and thicker skin to help protect the area. The common name for the thicker skin is a corn.
Shoes that narrow toward the toe force the smaller toes into a bent upward position. This makes the toes rub against the inside of the shoe, and creates corns and calluses, aggravating the toes
further. If the shoes have a high heel, the feet are forced forward and down, squeezing the toes against the front of the shoe, which increases the pressure on the toes and makes them bend further.
Eventually, the toe muscles become unable to straighten the toe.
The symptoms of hammertoe include a curling toe, pain or discomfort in the toes and ball of the foot or the front of the leg, especially when toes are stretched downward. Thickening of the skin above
or below the affected toe with the formation of corns Hammer toe
or calluses. Difficulty finding shoes
that fit well. In its early stages, hammertoe is not obvious. Frequently, hammertoe does not cause any symptoms except for the claw-like toe shape.
First push up on the bottom of the metatarsal head associated with the affected toe and see if the toe straightens out. If it does, then an orthotic could correct the problem, usually with a
metatarsal pad. If the toe does not straighten out when the metatarsal head is pushed up, then that indicates that contracture in the capsule and ligaments (capsule contracts because the joint was in
the wrong position for too long) of the MTP joint has set in and surgery is required. Orthotics are generally required post-surgically.
Non Surgical Treatment
Hammer toes usually get progressively worse over time, especially if you avoid seeking care. Not all cases are the same, so it is important to get your podiatrist or foot surgeon to evaluate your
condition so that you can get the treatment you need as soon as possible. Your treatment options will vary depending on the severity of your hammer toe. You may not require surgery to treat your
hammer toe. Your doctor may suggest one of these less invasive measures. Instead of wearing shoes that are too high or too short, wear comfortable shoes that have plenty of room and are flat or
low-heeled. Your doctor can prescribe pads that will prevent your corns or calluses from getting irritated. Avoid over-the-counter medicated pads, as they contain acid that can worsen your condition.
An orthotic device can be customized to fit your shoe and foot. It can help control your tendon and muscle imbalance, which in turn may ease your pain. NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
such as ibuprofen can reduce inflammation. By relieving swelling in your toe joint, you can alleviate your pain. Splints or small straps can be placed on your toe by a foot surgeon to realign your
bent toe. Applying ice packs wrapped in cloth on your hammer toe can reduce inflammation and swelling. Gently massaging your toes can assist in alleviating your pain caused by hammer toes. Try
exercises that stretch your feet as these can help restore your muscle balance. A simple exercise that can help is to pick up a cloth or small object from the floor by curling your toes. This action
will help your feet and toes by stretching them.
Surgically correcting a hammertoe is very technical and difficult, and requires a surgeon with superior capabilities and experience. The operation can be done at our office or the hospital with local
anesthetic. After making a small incision, the deformity is reduced and the tendons are realigned at the joint. You will be able to go home the same day with a special shoe! If you are sick and tired
of not fitting your shoes, you can no longer get relief from pads, orthopedic shoes or pedicures, and have corns that are ugly, sensitive and painful, then you certainly may be a good surgical
candidate. In order to have this surgery, you can not have poor circulation and and must have a clean bill of health.
Hammertoe can usually be prevented by wearing shoes that fit properly and give the toes plenty of room. Don?t wear shoes with pointed or narrow toes. Don?t wear shoes that are too tight or short.
Don?t wear high-heeled shoes, which can force the toes forward. Choose shoes with wide or boxy toes. Choose shoes that are a half-inch longer than your longest toe. If shoes hurt, don?t wear them.