A Hammer toes
or contracted toe is a deformity of the proximal interphalangeal joint of the second, third, or fourth toe causing it to be
permanently bent, resembling a hammer. Mallet toe is a similar condition affecting the distal interphalangeal joint.
More often than not, wearing shoes that do not fit a person well for too long may actually cause hammer toes. Wearing shoes that are too narrow or too tight for the person for extended periods of
time may eventually take a toll on the person's feet. The same is true for women who like wearing high-heeled shoes with narrow toe boxes.
A hammertoe causes you discomfort when you walk. It can also cause you pain when trying to stretch or move the affected toe or those around it. Hammertoe symptoms may be mild or severe. Mild
Symptoms, a toe that is bent downward, corns or calluses. Severe Symptoms, difficulty walking, the inability to flex your foot or wiggle your toes, claw-like toes. See your doctor or podiatrist right
away if you develop any of these symptoms.
Hammertoes are progressive, they don?t go away by themselves and usually they will get worse over time. However, not all cases are alike, some hammertoes progress more rapidly than others. Once your
foot and ankle surgeon has evaluated your hammertoes, a treatment plan can be developed that is suited to your needs.
Non Surgical Treatment
Mild hammer toe in children can be treated by manipulating and splinting the affected toe. The following changes in footwear may help relieve symptoms. Wear the right size shoes or shoes with wide
toe boxes for comfort, and to avoid making hammer toe worse. Avoid high heels as much as possible. Wear soft insoles to relieve pressure on the toe. Protect the joint that is sticking out with corn
pads or felt pads. A foot doctor can make foot devices called hammer toe regulators or straighteners for you, or you can buy them at the store. Exercises may be helpful. You can try gentle stretching
exercises if the toe is not already hammertoes
in a fixed position. PIcking up
a towel with your toes can help stretch and straighten the small muscles in the foot.
Several surgical procedures are available to the podiatric physician. For less severe deformities, the surgery will remove the bony prominence and restore normal alignment of the toe joint, thus
relieving pain. Severe hammertoes, which are not fully reducible, may require more complex surgical procedures. Recuperation takes time, and some swelling and discomfort are common for several weeks
following surgery. Any pain, however, is easily managed with medications prescribed by your podiatric physician.
As you get older, feet get bigger. Get your feet measured every time you buy shoes. Don't go by shoe sizes. Shoe sizes vary among manufacturers; a shoe is the right size only when it fits
comfortably. The ball of your foot should fit into the widest part of the shoe. A shoe should be sturdy such that it only bends in the ball of the foot, exactly where your big toes bend. Any shoe
that can be bent anywhere along the sole or twisted side to side is generally too flimsy.