Hammertoe is a condition in which the toes of your feet become contracted into an upside-down "V" shape, causing pain, pressure and, often, corns and calluses. hammertoes
can develop on any of the toes, but generally affects the middle three toes, most often
the second toe. The bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons of your feet normally are well-balanced to distribute your body's weight while standing, walking and running. When the first and second
joints of your toes experience the prolonged stress that develops when the muscles that control them fail to work together properly, the pressure on the tendons that support them can lead to the
curling or contraction known as hammertoe.
While there are a number of causes, there aren't many specific risk factors for hammertoes, women tend to get these problems more than men, but they occur without rhyme or reason. Diabetics, however,
are more likely to get a hammertoe if they have underlying nerve damage in the toes and feet.
The symptoms of a hammer toe include the following. Pain at the top of the bent toe upon pressure from footwear. Formation of corns on the top of the joint. Redness and swelling at the joint
contracture. Restricted or painful motion of the toe joint. Pain in the ball of the foot at the base of the affected toe.
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
If the toes are still mobile enough that they are able to stretch out and lay flat, the doctor will likely suggest a change of footwear. In addition, she may choose to treat the pain that may result
from the condition. The doctor may prescribe pads to ease the pain of any corns and calluses, and medications ranging from ibuprofen to steroid injections for the inflammation Hammer toe
and pain. Other options for non-surgical treatments include
orthotic devices to help with the tendon and muscle imbalance or splinting to help realign the toe. Splinting devices come in a variety of shapes and sizes but the purpose of each is the same: to
stretch the muscles and tendon and flatten the joint to remove the pain and pressure that comes from corns.
Several surgical procedures are available to the podiatric physician. For less severe deformities, the surgery will remove the bony prominence and restore normal alignment of the toe joint, thus
relieving pain. Severe hammertoes, which are not fully reducible, may require more complex surgical procedures. Recuperation takes time, and some swelling and discomfort are common for several weeks
following surgery. Any pain, however, is easily managed with medications prescribed by your podiatric physician.