Uneven muscle tension results in the distortion of one or several of the small toes. (hammertoes
) Pressure points
develop at the raised middle joint as well as at the tip of the toe and underneath the metatarsal head. In the beginning, when the misalignment can still be corrected, it often suffices to lengthen
the tendon and to cut a notch into the capsule. In a contracted misalignment, part of the middle joint is removed to form a replacement joint. Modern surgical techniques preserve the
metatarsophalangeal joint (Weil or Helal osteotomies).
Shoes that narrow toward the toe force the smaller toes into a bent upward position. This makes the toes rub against the inside of the shoe, and creates corns and calluses, aggravating the toes
further. If the shoes have a high heel, the feet are forced forward and down, squeezing the toes against the front of the shoe, which increases the pressure on the toes and makes them bend further.
Eventually, the toe muscles become unable to straighten the toe.
A hammer toe may be painful, especially when irritated by a shoe. All four toe conditions may cause cramps in the toes, foot and leg due to the abnormal function of the tendons in the foot. If a
mallet toe has occurred, you are likely to suffer from a corn at the end of the toe. A hammertoe may cause a corn on the top of the hammertoe
toe. Infections and ulcers can also occur. In severe cases a mallet toe, trigger toe, claw toe
or a hammer toe may create a downward pressure on the foot, which can result in hard skin and corns on the soles of the feet.
Hammer toes may be easily detected through observation. The malformation of the person's toes begin as mild distortions, yet may worsen over time - especially if the factors causing the hammer toes
are not eased or removed. If the condition is paid attention to early enough, the person's toes may not be permanently damaged and may be treated without having to receive surgical intervention. If
the person's toes remain untreated for too long, however the muscles within the toes might stiffen even more and will require invasive procedures to correct the deformity.
Non Surgical Treatment
You should seek medical advice if you have a hammer toe. Here are some things you can do in the meantime. None of these things will cure the hammer toe, but they may relieve the pain and discomfort.
Only wear shoes that are high and broad across the toes. There should be at least 1.5 cm of space between your longest toe and the tip of the shoe. Keep in mind that this could be either your big toe
or your second toe. Don't wear heels higher than 5 cm. Wear the appropriate shoe for the activity you are doing. You can buy non-medicated hammer toe pads. They fit around the pointy top of the toe
joint and help relieve painful pressure. Gently massaging the toe may help relieve pain. Put ice packs wrapped in cloth on the hammer toe to reduce painful swelling.
Surgery may not help how your foot looks. And your toe problems may also come back after surgery. This is more likely if you keep wearing the kinds of shoes that cause toe problems. Your expectations
will play a large role in how you feel about the results of surgery. If you are only having surgery to improve the way your foot looks, you may not be happy with how it turns out.
Avoid wearing shoes that are too short or narrow. Check children's shoe sizes often, especially during periods of fast growth. If you have hammer toe, call for an appointment with your health care
provider. If you develop thick blisters or corns on your toes, if your pain gets worse, if you have difficulty walking call for an appointment with your health care provider.