is foot deformity that typically affects second, third or fourth
toes. The condition is called hammertoe because of the unnatural position your toes form. Hammertoe causes your toe to bend upward at the middle joint in a way that looks similar to a hammer. While
it may not be painful at first, this condition usually worsens with time and it becomes difficult to extend your toes. Sometimes, calluses or corns form in association with hammertoe.
Those fashionable shoes. Women tend to cram their feet into too-narrow, ill-fitting shoes with little to no arch support. That?s why we see more hammertoes in women than men. Pointy, high-heeled
shoes put severe pressure on the toes and their joints, and they typically have little to no arch support. Neuromuscular diseases can contribute to the development of hammertoe, too. People with
diabetes can be at increased risk for complications from a hammertoe. In diabetics, if a toe has a corn or other ulceration, it indicates there is too much pressure on the toes. In those with poor
blood flow or neuropathy, these lesions can get infected and lead to the loss of a toe or foot unless shoes are modified.
Well-developed hammertoes are distinctive due to the abnormal bent shape of the toe. However, there are many other common symptoms. Some symptoms may be present before the toe becomes overly bent or
fixed in the contracted position. Often, before the toe becomes permanently contracted, there will be pain or irritation over the top of the toe, particularly over the joint. The symptoms are
pronounced while wearing shoes due to the top of the toe rubbing against the upper portion of the shoe. Often, there is a significant amount of friction between the toe and the shoe or between the
toe and the toes on either side of it. The corns may be soft or hard, depending on their location and age. The affected toe may also appear red with irritated skin. In more severe cases, blisters or
open sores may form. Those with diabetes should take extra care if they develop any of these symptoms, as they could lead to further complications.
The treatment options vary with the type and severity of each hammer toe, although identifying the deformity early in its development is important to avoid surgery. Your podiatric physician will
examine and X-ray the affected area and recommend a treatment plan specific to your condition.
Non Surgical Treatment
Hammer toes may be effectively corrected in different ways. Treatments can hammertoes
be non-invasive and involve physical
therapy along with the advice that the person not wear any more shoes that restrict appropriate space for their toes. Appropriate shoes for people who want to avoid hammer toes, or for people who
already have them, should be at least half an inch longer than the person's longest toe. High-heeled shoes are something to definitely avoid.
Surgery to correct for a hammertoe may be performed as an outpatient procedure at a hospital, surgery center, or in the office of your podiatrist. There are multiple procedures that can be used
depending on your individual foot structure and whether the deformity is flexible or rigid. There may be a surgical cut in the bone to get rid of an exostosis, or a joint may be completely removed to
allow the toe to lay straight.
Be good to your feet, because they carry you. They are designed to last a lifetime, but that doesn?t mean they don?t need some love and care as well as some basic maintenance. Check your feet
regularly for problems. This is especially true if you have diabetes or any other medical condition that causes poor circulation or numbness in your toes. If you do, check your feet every day so
problems can be caught early on. Good circulation is essential. When you're sitting down, put your feet up. If you've been sitting for a while, stretch your legs and feet. Give yourself a foot
massage, or ask someone you love for a foot massage. A warm foot bath is also a good idea.