What Are Hammertoes?

A hammertoe is a foot malformation in which your toe bends or curls downward rather than forward. This ailment can affect any toe on your foot. The second or third toe is the most commonly affected. A hammertoe may be present at birth, but it often develops over time. It is the result of arthritis or wearing shoes that are too tight or too pointed. A hammertoe is a curable disease!

Causes of A Hammer Toe

Hammer’s toes aren’t a frequent foot malformation, and people merely believe in myths about them. However, there are many causes of hammertoe occurrence. The main is the mid joint of the toe gets stretched or curled inward, resulting in a hammertoe.

The following are some of the most common causes of hammer toe:

  • a traumatic toe injury
  • extraordinarily high arch
  • ligaments or tendons of the foot that have become tense
  • wearing shoes that are too big or too little
  • When the bunion curled towards the second toe

All of your toes may curl downward if your spinal cord or peripheral nerves are damaged.

Risk Factors

A hammertoe is more likely to develop if you have certain risk factors. These are some of them:

  • having calluses, bunions, or corns, which are thickened layers of skin caused by constant friction.
  • wearing tight or pointy-toed shoes regularly
  • a history of hammertoe in the family

Do you know that wearing tiny shoes forces toe joints into an awkward position? Your muscles will be unable to stretch as a result of this. Moreover, wearing ill-fitting shoes raises your risk of getting the following conditions over time:

  • hammer toes
  • blisters and ulcerations
  • bunions
  • corns

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of hammertoe can range from relative to pain!

A toe that is twisted upward at the middle joint is the most common symptom of a hammertoe. You might be able to straighten out your toe at first. However, it will get more uncomfortable and hard to do overtime.

Corns, blisters, and calluses can grow when the inside of your shoe brushes against a hammertoe. They might develop on the top of your toes or the bottom of your foot. It can make walking difficult, especially when wearing shoes. You may also experience discomfort in the joint where your big toe connects to your foot.

Diagnosis

A hammertoe

During an examination, a doctor will usually diagnose hammertoe. To produce symptoms, the doctor may move the foot and toe lightly. It allows medical professionals to assess the toe’s healthiness. In a foot exam, a hammertoe is frequently visible. A doctor orders X-rays of the foot to study the diseased foot’s bone structure further.

Treatment

The treatment gets determined by the severity of your condition!

1. Mild Hammertoe

Wearing proper-fitting shoes can help you fix a mild hammertoe caused by improper footwear. If you have a high arch, toe cushions or insoles in your shoes can help. These pads reduce pain and improve the appearance of your toe by altering the position of your toe and toenails. Bunions and corn get commonly treated with over-the-counter (OTC) cushions, pads, or medicines. However, if they cause pain or deformity in your toes, your doctor may surgically remove them!

Avoid getting blisters on your toes. Blisters that get popped can cause pain and infection. To ease pain and prevent blisters from pressing on the inside of your shoes, use over-the-counter balms and cushions. Stretching your toes might also aid in pain relief and repositioning the damaged mild hammertoe.

2. Severe Hammertoe

If you have a severe hammertoe, surgery is the only way to get it moving again. Surgery can correct your tendons and joints, reposition your toe, and remove the injured bone.

Surgical methods that to treat a severe hammertoe include:

  • Arthroplasty-To assists the toe to straighten half of the joint under the crooked section of the toe is removed.
  • Arthrodesis-comparable to the procedure described above. However, the entire joint gets removed, and a wire or pin gets implanted to aid recovery.
  • Tendon transfer-To help straightening, tendons from beneath the toe get redirected above the toe. The surgery might get performed in conjunction with other surgical procedures.
  • Basal phalangectomy -for people who have a lot of stiffness underneath the toe, the base of the bone is removed.
  • Weil osteotomy-The metatarsal bone gets trimmed, and surgery equipment gets placed to aid recovery.

Prevention Of A Hammertoe

Wearing better footwear will help in the prevention of a hammertoe!
Proper footwear should have the following:

  • Low heels-High heels force the toes to flex and the feet into abnormal positions.
  • Enough toe room-Pointy-toed shoes should exist avoided, and shoes should be correctly sized. Shoes should get designed to accommodate the longest toe, which isn’t typically the big toe.
  • Adjustability-Your shoes need to have adjustable laces and straps.
  • Proper arch support-Arch stability helps to prevent a variety of foot problems.

Claw Toes and Hammertoes: The Difference

People have a widespread misperception that hammer and claw toes are the same thing!
However, people with claw toes have second and first toe bent, while hammertoe ones have second or third toe bent.

Bottom Line

Hammertoe can reappear even after therapy. Wearing proper footwear is the method to ensure that hammertoe does not recur. Simple workouts and footwear changes can help to treat and prevent hammertoe. However, if the toe becomes inflexible, surgery may become a necessity. The article covers three sections: Causes, Symptoms of Hammertoe, and prevention of a hammer toe.

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