a bending and hardening of the joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth
toes. If you look down at your feet and you can?t see the tips of the toenails, you might suffer from hammertoe. Early signs of hammertoe are a bend in the joint of any toe except the big toe. The
bend in the joint causes the top of the toe to appear to curl under as if it?s ?hammering? into the floor.
Hammertoe is caused when muscles fail to work in a balanced manner and the toe joints bend to form the hammertoe shape. If they remain in this position, the muscles and tendons supporting them
tighten and stay that way. Causes of hammertoe can include squeezing into a too-small or ill-fitting shoe or wearing high heels that jam your toes into a tight toe box. An injury such as badly
stubbing your toe. Arthritis. Nerve and muscle damage from diseases such as diabetes,
Hammertoe and mallet toe feature an abnormal bend in the joints of one or more of your toes. Moving the affected toe may be difficult or painful. Corns and calluses can result from the toe rubbing
against the inside of your shoes. See your doctor if you have persistent foot pain that affects your ability to walk properly.
Although hammertoes are readily apparent, to arrive at a diagnosis the foot and ankle surgeon will obtain a thorough history of your symptoms and examine your foot. During the physical examination,
the doctor may attempt to reproduce your symptoms by manipulating your foot and will study the contractures of the toes. In addition, the foot and ankle surgeon may take x-rays to determine the
degree of the deformities and assess any changes that may have occurred.
Non Surgical Treatment
Padding and Taping. Often this is the first step in a treatment plan. Padding the hammertoe prominence minimizes pain and allows the patient Hammer toes
to continue a normal, active life. Taping may change the
imbalance around the toes and thus relieve the stress and pain. Medication. Anti-inflammatory drugs and cortisone injections can be prescribed to ease acute pain and inflammation caused by the joint
deformity. Orthotic Devices. Custom shoe inserts made by your podiatrist may be useful in controlling foot function. An orthotic device may reduce symptoms and prevent the worsening of the hammertoe
Sometimes when the joints are removed the two bones become one as they are fused in a straightened position. Many times one toe will be longer than another and a piece of bone is removed to bring the
toes in a more normal length in relation to each other. Sometimes tendons will be lengthened, or soft tissue around the joints will be cut or rebalanced to fix the deformity. Angular corrections may
also be needed. The surgeon may place fixation in your foot as it heals which may include a pin, or wires.