What are hammertoes, mallet toes and claw toes? Often the words are used interchangeably to mean an abnormally contracted toe like the drawing above. Technically speaking, a "Hammer toes
" is the name for a toe that is contracted at the first toe joint.
If it's contracted at the second toe joint it is called a "mallet toe". IIf a toe is contracted at both toe joints, it is called a "claw toe". Each of these conditions can be quite uncomfortable and
are cosmetically unappealing.
People who are born with long bones in their toes are more likely to develop hammer toe. Children who wear shoes they have outgrown may develop this condition. People who wear very narrow shoes or
high-heeled shoes are also more likely to develop a hammer toe. Sometimes, pressure from a bunion can cause hammer toe. Rheumatoid arthritis is another a risk factor.
The most obvious sign of hammertoes are bent toes, other symptoms may include pain and stiffness during movement of the toe. Painful corns on the tops of the toe or toes from rubbing against the top
of the shoe's toe box. Painful calluses on the bottoms of the toe or toes. Pain on the bottom of the ball of the foot. Redness and swelling at the joints.
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
A number of approaches can be undertaken to the manage a hammer toe. It is important that any footwear advice is followed. The correct amount of space in the toe box will allow room for the toes to
function without excessive pressure. If a corn is present, this will need to be treated. If the toe is still flexible, it may be possible to use splints or tape to try and correct the toe. Without
correct fitting footwear, this is often unsuccessful. Padding is often used to get pressure off the toe to help the symptoms. If conservative treatment is unsuccessful at helping the symptoms,
surgery is often a good option.
Sometimes surgery can not be avoided. If needed, the surgery chosen is decided by whether we are dealing with a flexible or rigid hammer toe. If the surgery is on a flexible hammer toe, it is
performed on soft tissue structures like the tendon and or capsule of the flexor hammer toe. Rigid hammer toes need bone surgeries into the joint of the toe to repair it. This bone surgery is called
In addition to wearing proper shoes and socks, walking often and properly Hammer toe
foot injury and pain. The head should be erect, the back straight, and the arms relaxed and swinging freely at the side. Step out on the heel, move forward with the weight on the outside of the foot,
and complete the step by pushing off the big toe. Exercises specifically for the toe and feet are easy to perform and help strengthen them and keep them flexible. Helpful exercises include the
following. Raise and curl the toes 10 times, holding each position for a count of five. Put a rubber band around both big toes and pull the feet away from each other. Count to five. Repeat 10 times.
Pick up a towel with the toes. Repeat five times. Pump the foot up and down to stretch the calf and shin muscles. Perform for 2 or 3 minutes.