Hammer toes are classified based on the mobility of the toe joints. There are two types. Flexible and rigid. In a flexible hammertoes
, the joint has the ability to move. This type of hammer toe can be
straightened manually. A rigid hammer toe does not have that same ability to move. Movement is very limited and can be extremely painful. This sometimes causes foot movement to become restricted
leading to extra stress at the ball-of-the-foot, and possibly causing pain and the development of corns and calluses.
Though hammer toes are principally hereditary, several other factors can contribute to the deformity. Most prevalent is an imbalance of the muscles and tendons that control the motion of the toe.
When the tendon that pulls the toe upward is not as strong as the one that pulls it downward there is a disparity of power. This forces the toe to buckle and gradually become deformed. If the it
persists, the toe can become rigid and harder to hammertoes
The symptoms of a hammer toe include the following. Pain at the top of the bent toe upon pressure from footwear. Formation of corns on the top of the joint. Redness and swelling at the joint
contracture. Restricted or painful motion of the toe joint. Pain in the ball of the foot at the base of the affected toe.
Your healthcare provider will examine your foot, checking for redness, swelling, corns, and calluses. Your provider will also measure the flexibility of your toes and test how much feeling you have
in your toes. You may have blood tests to check for arthritis, diabetes, and infection.
Non Surgical Treatment
Orthotics are shoe inserts that can help correct mechanical foot-motion problems to correct pressure on your toe or toes and reduce pain. Changing shoes. You should seek out shoes that conform to the
shape of your feet as much as possible and provide plenty of room in the toe box, ensuring that your toes are not pinched or squeezed. You should make sure that, while standing, there is a half inch
of space for your longest toe at the end of each shoe. Make sure the ball of your foot fits comfortably in the widest part of the shoe. Feet normally swell during the course of the day, so shop for
shoes at the end of the day, when your feet are at their largest. Don't be vain about your shoe size, sizes vary by brand, so concentrate on making certain your shoes are comfortable. Remember that
your two feet are very likely to be different sizes and fit your shoe size to the larger foot. Low-heel shoes. High heels shift all your body weight onto your toes, tremendously increasing the
pressure on them and the joints associated with them. Instead, wear shoes with low (less than two inches) or flat heels that fit your foot comfortably.
Your podiatrist may recommend a surgical procedure if your hammertoes are not helped by the conservative care methods listed above. Surgery for hammertoes is performed to help straighten your crooked
toe. Your surgery will be performed in your podiatrist?s office or at a hospital, depending on the severity of your hammertoe. A metal pin is sometimes used to help your affected toe maintain its
straight position during your recovery.