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.
The muscles of each toe work in pairs. When the toe muscles get out of balance, a hammer toe can form. Muscle imbalance puts a lot of pressure on the toe's tendons and joints. This pressure forces
the toe into a hammerhead shape. How do the toe muscles get out of balance? There are three main reasons. Your genes, you may have inherited a tendency to develop hammer toes because your foot is
slightly unstable - such as a flat foot. But high-arched feet can also get hammer toes. Arthritis. Injury to the toe: ill-fitting shoes are the main culprits of this cause. If shoes are too tight,
too short, or too pointy, they push the toes out of balance. Pointy, high-heeled shoes put particularly severe pressure on the toes.
Signs and symptoms of hammertoe and mallet toe may include a hammer-like or claw-like appearance of a toe. In mallet toe, a deformity at the end of the toe, giving the toe a mallet-like appearance.
Pain and difficulty moving the toe. Corns and calluses resulting from the toe rubbing against the inside of your footwear. Both hammertoe and mallet toe can cause pain with walking and other foot
A hammertoe is usually diagnosed with a physical inspection of your toe. Imaging tests, such as X-rays, may be ordered if you have had a bone, muscle, or ligament injury in your toe.
Non Surgical Treatment
Wear sensible shoes. If you don?t want to have surgery to fix your hammertoe, use non-medicated padding along with proper shoes made with a wider and deeper toe box to accommodate your foot?s shape.
Ensuring your shoes have a good arch support can slow the progression of the condition as well. Use a pumice stone. The corn or callus that forms on top of the hammertoe can cause discomfort when you
wear shoes. Treat the corn by using a file or pumice stone to reduce its size after a warm bath, then apply emollients to keep the area softened and pliable. Use silicone or moleskin padding on top
of the area when wearing shoes. Do foot exercises. Theoretically, exercises like extending, then curling the toes, splaying the toes, and moving the toes individually may help prevent the digital
contracture that causes hammertoe. Try these suggestions and see what works best for you.
Hammertoe surgery is performed when conservative measures have been exhausted and pain or deformity still persists. The surgery is performed on an outpatient basis. It typically required about one
hour of time. An incision is placed over the inter-phalangeal joint. Once the bone Hammer toes
the end portion of the bone is removed. Your surgeon may then use pins or other fixation devices to assist in straightening the toe. These devices may be removed at a later date if necessary.
Recovery for hammertoe surgery is approximately 10 to 14 days. You are able to walk immediately following the surgery in a surgical shoe. Swelling may be present but is managed as needed. Physical
therapy is used to help reduce swelling in the toe or toes after surgery. Most of these toe surgeries can be performed in the office or the outpatient surgery under local anesthesia.