condition is usually irreversible, but often its progression can be slowed or halted. You
should visit a Podiatrist if the toe becomes painful and you have difficulty walking. A Podiatrist will be able to provide advice and treatment including padding the bony top-part of your hammertoe
to relieve pain or to tape your toes as a way to change their position. Podiatrists have an important role to play in preventing and managing foot problems. Prompt action is important. Problems which
are left without assessment or treatment may result in major health risks.
Hammertoe commonly develops because of structural changes that take place over time in the muscles and tendons that bend the toes. People with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, are at
risk for developing hammertoe. It can be an inherited condition for some people. Other causes include trauma and wearing shoes that are too tight, narrow, or have high heels. The toe next to the big
toe (second toe) is most frequently affected by hammertoe.
The middle joint of the toe is bent. The end part of the toe bends down hammertoes
into a claw-like deformity.
At first, you may be able to move and straighten the toe. Over time, you will no longer be able to move the toe. It will be painful. A corn often forms on the top of the toe. A callus is found on the
sole of the foot. Walking or wearing shoes can be painful.
Your healthcare provider will examine your foot, checking for redness, swelling, corns, and calluses. Your provider will also measure the flexibility of your toes and test how much feeling you have
in your toes. You may have blood tests to check for arthritis, diabetes, and infection.
Non Surgical Treatment
A person with hammer toes will be asked to practice some exercises for their toes to regain average structure and movement. The exercises usually involve stretching and strengthening their toes. The
person may attempt to pick things up off the floor using only their toes. They may also stretch their toes on a regular basis by hand to ease them into straightening out. Another example of a
physical exercise specifically for a person's toes involves crumpling a towel with the toes. The towel can lie underneath the person's feet and the person can use their toes to scrunch up the towel
as they perform simple tasks such as reading a book or watching television.
Surgery involves removing a small section of bone from the affected joint through a procedure called arthroplasty. Arthrodesis may also be performed to treat hammertoes, which involves fusing
together one of the joints in the toe in order to keep it straight. This procedure requires the use of a metal pin to hold the toe in position while it heals.