When there?s an imbalance in the muscle and ligament surrounding a toe joint, the effect is a bend in the middle joint of the toe, which causes the whole toe to bend upward. Because the toe is bent
in an unnatural way, it?s common for the toe to become irritated and even develop corns. A toe that curls under rather than bends upward is also considered a hammertoes
The cause of hammertoes varies, but causes include genetics, arthritis and injury to the toe. Treatment for hammertoes depends on the severity and can include anti-inflammatory medication, metatarsal
pads, foot exercises and better-fitting shoes. If the pain caused by a hammertoe is so severe that wearing a shoe is uncomfortable, surgery may be necessary. Typically this surgery is an outpatient
procedure that doesn?t require general anesthesia, though it is an option. Recovery from surgery usually takes a few weeks, and patients are given special shoes to wear.
The symptoms of hammertoe include a curling toe, pain or discomfort in the toes and ball of the foot or the front of the leg, especially when toes are stretched downward. Thickening of the skin above
or below the affected toe with the formation of corns or calluses. Difficulty finding shoes that fit well. In its early stages, hammertoe is not obvious. Frequently, hammertoe does not cause any
symptoms except for the claw-like toe shape.
Although hammertoes are readily apparent, to arrive at a diagnosis the foot and ankle surgeon will obtain a thorough history of your symptoms and examine your foot. During the physical examination,
the doctor may attempt to reproduce your symptoms by manipulating your foot and will study the contractures of the toes. In addition, the foot and ankle surgeon may take x-rays to determine the
degree of the deformities and assess any changes that may have occurred.
Non Surgical Treatment
Treatment for a hammertoe usually depends on the stage of the hammertoe and the cause of the condition. If your toe is still bendable, your doctor may suggest conservative care-relieving pressure
with padding and strapping, or proper shoes that have a deep toe box and are of adequate length and width. Early intervention can often prevent the need for surgery.
The technique the surgeon applies during the surgery depends on how Hammer toes
much flexibility the person's
affected toes still retain. If some flexibility has still been preserved in their affected toes, the hammer toes might be corrected through making a small incision into the toe so the surgeon can
manipulate the tendon that is forcing the person's toes into a curved position. If, however, the person's toes have become completely rigid, the surgeon might have to do more than re-aligning the
person's tendons. Some pieces of bone may have to be removed so the person's toe has the ability to straighten out. If this is the case, some pins are attached onto the person's foot afterwards to
fix their bones into place while the injured tissue heals.
Prevention of a hammertoe can be difficult as symptoms do not arise until the problem exists. Wearing shoes that have extra room in the toes may eliminate the problem or slow down the deformity from
getting worse. Sometimes surgery is recommended for the condition. If the area is irritated with redness, swelling, and pain some ice and anti-inflammatory medications may be helpful. The best
prevention may be to get advice from your podiatrist.