Hammertoes are another forefoot deformity that can take a walker out of their activity. A Hammer toes
represent a tendon imbalance in the toes caused by one of the toe tendons getting an advantage over another toe tendon. Most commonly, it is one or all of the long extensor tendons on the top of the
foot that gets an advantage over one or all of the flexor tendons on the bottom of the foot, to cause the first joint in the toe to be elevated above the ground. Most shoe wearing people chronically
alter the delicate balance that co-exists amongst the toe tendons whether they know it or not.
Hammer toes can be due to a number of things. Several factors are known to increase the risk of developing hammer toes. Some people are just structurally prone to develop hammer toes (hereditary)
tight footwear is an important factor in the cause of hammer toes as well as providing the pressure that causes the symptoms, weaker small muscles in the foot may also play a role.
People with a hammer toe will often find that a corn or callus will develop on the top of the toe, where it rubs against the top of the footwear. This can be painful when pressure is applied or when
anything rubs on it. The affected joint may also be painful and appear swollen.
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 Hammer 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
Padding and Taping. Often this is the first step in a treatment plan. Padding the hammertoe prominence minimizes pain and allows the patient 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
In advanced cases in which the toe has become stiff and permanently bent, the toe can be straightened with surgery. One type of surgery involves removing a small section of the toe bone to allow the
toe to lie flat. Surgery for hammertoe usually is classified as a cosmetic procedure. Cosmetic foot surgeries sometimes cause complications such as pain or numbness, so it?s better to treat the
problem with a shoe that fits properly.
Although these following preventative tips may be able to reverse a painful bunion or hammertoe deformity, they are more effective when applied to young people, and are less effective the longer a
person has progressed with their bunion or hammertoe deformity. This is because the joints in our bodies get used to the positions they are most frequently held in, and our feet are no different,
with our 12 to 15 hours a day in restrictive footwear, with tapering toeboxes, heel elevation, and toespring.