Essentially, there's one consistent type of Hammer toe
, the condition in which your toes are contracted
into a hammer or upside-down "V" shape. However, depending on its severity, hammertoe is characterized into two forms. Flexible hammertoe
hammertoe is hammertoe in which the joints of the toes are still moveable or flexible and can be treated with nonsurgical
therapies. Rigid hammertoe is the more serious condition in which the joints' muscles and tendons have lost any flexibility and the contraction cannot be corrected by nonsurgical means. As a result,
surgery is generally required to deal with the problem. This is why it's important to consult a physician as soon as the problem is recognized for the possibility of successful nonsurgical
Your shoes, your genetic predisposition, an underlying medical condition or all of these can make you susceptible to developing one of these deformities of the toes. The genes your parents gave you.
When it comes to genetics, the foot type you?re born with predisposes you to developing this type of joint deformity over a lifetime. For many, a flat flexible foot leads to hammertoes as the foot
tries to stabilize against a flattening arch. Those with high arches can also form hammertoes as the extensor tendons overpower the flexors.
Pain on the bottom of your foot, especially under the ball of your foot, is one of the most common symptoms associated with hammertoes. Other common signs and symptoms of hammertoes include pain at
the top of your bent toe from footwear pressure. Corns on the top of your bent toe. Redness and swelling in your affected area. Decreased joint range of motion in your affected toe joints.
The earlier a hammertoe is diagnosed, the better the prognosis and treatment options. Your doctor will be able to diagnose your hammertoe with a simple examination of the foot and your footwear. He
or she may take an x-ray to check the severity of the condition. You may also be asked about your symptoms, your normal daily activities, and your medical and family history.
Non Surgical Treatment
In the earlier stages of hammer toe, when the toes can still be manually straightened, then conservative treatment is appropriate. This means wearing shoes which are a half size bigger than normal
and which are not narrow around the toes. Exercises to stretch the toes out and strengthen the muscles under the foot which balances the tightness of the top tendons are important. Padding or corn
plasters can be used to ease the discomfort of any associated corns and calluses.
In advanced cases in which the toe has become stiff and permanently bent, the toe can be straightened with surgery. One type of surgery involves removing a small section of the toe bone to allow the
toe to lie flat. Surgery for hammertoe usually is classified as a cosmetic procedure. Cosmetic foot surgeries sometimes result in complications such as pain or numbness, so it's better to treat the
problem with a shoe that fits properly.