Hammertoes are quite common and may range from mild to severe. A Hammer toes
is a contracture, or bending, of one or
more toes, usually due to an imbalance between the muscles or tendons on the top and bottom of the toes. Over time, the affected toes lose flexibility, becoming rigid and fixed in a contracted
position. The abnormal bend positions the knuckle of the toe upward, causing it to push against the top of the shoe leading to additional problems. The condition usually becomes progressively worse
if not treated.
It is possible to be born with a hammer toe, however many people develop the deformity later in life. Common causes include tightened tendons that cause the toe to curl downward. Nerve injuries or
problems with the spinal cord. Stubbing, jamming or breaking a toe. Having a stroke. Being a diabetic. Having a second toe that is longer than the big toe. Wearing high heels or tight shoes that
crowd the toes and don?t allow them to lie flat. Aging.
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.
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
Changing the type of footwear worn is a very important step in the treatment of hammer toes. When choosing a shoe, make sure the toe box (toe area) is high and broad, and can accommodate the hammer
toes. A shoe with a high, broad toe box will provide enough room in the forefoot area so that there is less friction against the toes. Other conservative treatments include using forefoot products
designed to relieve hammer toes, such as hammer toe crests and hammer toe splints. These devices will help hold down the hammer toe and provide relief to the forefoot. Gel toe shields and gel toe
caps are also recommended to eliminate friction between the shoe and the toe, while providing comfort and lubrication.
There are several surgical methods to correct Hammer toes
a hammer toe. Your physician will decide which
method will be most beneficial to you depending on the severity of your deformity, the direction the toe is deviating and the length of the affected toe. Some common surgical methods include.
Arthroplasty. To promote straightening, half of the joint located directly underneath the crooked part of the toe is removed. Arthrodesis (fusion) To promote straightening, the joint directly
underneath where the toe is crooked is completely removed. A wire or pin is inserted to aid healing. Tendon transfer. Performed alone or in combination with other procedures, a surgeon will take
tendons from under the toe and ?re-route? them to the top of the toe to promote straightening. Basal phalangectomy. Performed to assist patients with severe stiffness, this procedure removes the base
of the bone underneath the toe. Weil osteotomy. Performed to assist patients with severe stiffness, this procedure involves shortening the metatarsal bone and inserting surgical hardware to aid