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 toe
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 Hammer toes
develop on the affected toe joint.
People with arthritis, diabetes or neuromuscular conditions are also more likely to develop a hammer toe or mallet toe.
While ill-fitting shoes may contribute to a hammertoe, shoes don't actually cause it, Hammertoes occur by the pull and stretch of the tendon. One tendon gets a more mechanical advantage over the
other and allows the deformity to occur. Not surprisingly, wearing shoes that are too tight can make a hammertoe worse. If you're fond of narrow, pointy-toed shoes or high-heeled pumps, keep in mind
you're squeezing those toes and tendons, which may aggravate hammertoes.
Common symptoms of hammertoes include pain or irritation of the affected toe when wearing shoes. corns and calluses (a buildup of skin) on the toe, between two toes, or on the ball of the foot. Corns
are caused by constant friction against the shoe. They may be soft or hard, depending upon their location. Inflammation, redness, or a burning sensation. Contracture of the toe. In more severe cases
of hammertoe, open sores may form.
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
Wear sensible shoes. If you don?t want to have surgery to fix your hammertoe, use non-medicated padding along with proper shoes made with a wider and deeper toe box to accommodate your foot?s shape.
Ensuring your shoes have a good arch support can slow the progression of the condition as well. Use a pumice stone. The corn or callus that forms on top of the hammertoe can cause discomfort when you
wear shoes. Treat the corn by using a file or pumice stone to reduce its size after a warm bath, then apply emollients to keep the area softened and pliable. Use silicone or moleskin padding on top
of the area when wearing shoes. Do foot exercises. Theoretically, exercises like extending, then curling the toes, splaying the toes, and moving the toes individually may help prevent the digital
contracture that causes hammertoe. Try these suggestions and see what works best for you.
There are generally two methods surgeons use to correct hammer toes, they are joint resection (arthroplasty) or bone mending (fusion), and the location where this is performed on the toe depends on
where the toe is buckled. Its important to recognize that most of the surgical work involved the joints of the toe, not the joint of the ball of the foot. Sometimes a toe relocation procedure is
needed when the joint of the ball of the foot is malaligned (subluxed or dislocated).