Generally a hammertoe or mallet toe is caused by wearing high heels or shoes that are too small around the toe area, so it?s no surprise that it is mostly women who suffer from them. A Hammer toes
has a bend in the middle joint of the toe whereas a mallet toe has a bend in the
upper joint of the affected toe. The way someone walks (gait) can also lead to the formation of hammertoes and mallet toes as can overuse and injury. Sometimes a deep blister will form over the bent
joint and often after some time calluses and corns will develop on the affected toe joint. People with arthritis, diabetes or neuromuscular conditions are also more likely to develop a hammer toe or
Your toe contains two joints that allow it to bend at the middle and bottom. A hammertoe occurs when the middle joint becomes dislocated. Common causes of this joint dislocation include a toe injury,
arthritis, a high foot arch, wearing shoes that don?t fit properly, tightened ligaments or tendons in the foot, pressure from a bunion (when your big toe points inward toward your second toe) Spinal
cord or peripheral nerve damage may cause all of your toes to curl downward.
Hammer toes can cause problems with walking and lead to other foot problems, such as blisters, calluses, and sores. Pain is caused by constant friction over the top of the toe?s main joint. It may be
difficult to fit into some shoe gear due to the extra space required for the deformed toe. In many cases there will be pain on the ball of the foot over the metatarsals along with callus formation.
This is due to the toes not functioning properly, failing to properly touch the ground during the gait cycle. The ball of the foot then takes the brunt of the ground forces, which causes chronic
The exam may reveal a toe in which the near bone of the toe (proximal phalanx) is angled upward and the middle bone of the toe points in the opposite direction (plantar flexed). Toes may appear
crooked or rotated. The involved joint may be painful when moved, or stiff. There may be areas of thickened skin (corns or calluses) on top of or between the toes, a callus may also be observed at
the tip of the affected toe beneath the toenail. An attempt to passively correct the deformity will help elucidate the best treatment option as the examiner determines whether the toe is still
flexible or not. It is advisable to assess palpable pulses, since their presence is associated with a good prognosis for healing after surgery. X-rays will demonstrate the contractures of the
involved joints, as well as possible arthritic Hammer toe
changes and bone enlargements (exostoses,
spurs). X-rays of the involved foot are usually performed in a weight-bearing position.
Non Surgical Treatment
Treatment options for a hammertoe are based on the severity of the condition. A hammertoe caused by inappropriate footwear can be corrected by wearing properly fitting shoes. If a high arch caused
the condition, wearing toe pads or insoles in your shoes can help. These pads work by shifting your toe?s position, which relieves pain and corrects the appearance of your toe.
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.
How can I prevent hammer toe? Avoid wearing shoes that are narrow or don?t fit well. Also, don?t wear heels higher than 2 inches. Instead, choose shoes with a wide toe box that give you ? inch
between the end of your longest toe and the inside tip of the shoe. Check often to make sure your child?s shoes fit, especially when he or she is having a growth spurt.