There are two different types. Flexible Hammer toe
. These are less serious because they can be
diagnosed and treated while still in the developmental stage. They are called flexible hammertoes because they are still moveable at the joint. Rigid Hammertoes. This variety is more developed and
more serious than the flexible condition. Rigid hammertoes can be seen in patients with severe arthritis, for example, or in patients who wait too long to seek professional treatment. The tendons in
a rigid hammertoe have become tight, and the joint misaligned and immobile, making surgery the usual course of treatment.
While most cases of hammertoes are caused by an underying muscle imbalance, it may develop as a result of several different causes, including arthritis, a hereditary condition, an injury, or
ill-fitting shoes. In some cases, patients develop hammertoes after wearing shoes or stockings that are too tight for long periods of time. These patients usually develop hammertoes in both
If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to hammer toe. Talk to your doctor about symptoms such as a toe that curls down, corns on the top of a toe, calluses on the sole of the foot
or bottom of the toe, pain in the middle joint of a toe, discomfort on the top of a toe, difficulty finding any shoes that fit comfortably, cramping in a toe, and sometimes also the foot and leg,
difficult or painful motion of a toe joint, pain in the ball of the foot or at the base of a toe.
Hammertoes are progressive, they don?t go away by themselves and usually they will get worse over time. However, not all cases are alike, some hammertoes progress more rapidly than others. Once your
foot and ankle surgeon has evaluated your hammertoes, a treatment plan can be developed that is suited to your needs.
Non Surgical Treatment
For hammertoes that are still flexible, a podiatrist might recommend padding or taping the toes to relieve pain and orthotic inserts for shoes to minimize pressure and keep the toe properly aligned.
Anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroid injections can relieve pain and inflammation. For more advanced cases of hammertoe, a podiatrist might recommend a surgical procedure to cut the tendon,
allowing the toe to straighten. For hammertoes that have become rigid, a more complicated surgery might be needed, during which the podiatrist removes part of the bone at the deformed joint to allow
it to straighten.
Your podiatrist may recommend a surgical procedure if your hammertoes are not helped by the conservative care methods listed above. Surgery for hammertoes is performed to help straighten your crooked
toe. Your surgery will be performed in your podiatrist?s office or at a hospital, depending on the severity of your hammertoe. A metal pin is sometimes used to help your affected toe maintain its
straight position during your recovery.
To prevent a hammertoe, never squeeze your toes into shoes that force them to bend unnaturally. Those tendons can tighten up, and leave a permanent, claw-like bend in your toe. Always slip your feet
into soft, roomy shoes that easily accommodate all of your toes. Stretching your toes can also help keep the tendons in the toes relaxed, and prevent a hammertoe. Use your hands to gently straighten
and stretch your toes or try to pick up objects with your toes, grabbing something from the floor, for example. Sitting on a blanket Hammer toes
and using your toes to grab the ends with also relax your feet.