When there?s an imbalance in the muscle and ligament surrounding a toe joint, the effect is a bend in the middle joint of the toe, which causes the whole toe to bend upward. Because the toe is bent
in an unnatural way, it?s common for the toe to become irritated and even develop corns. A toe that curls under rather than bends upward is also considered a hammertoes
Many disorders can affect the joints in the toes, causing pain and preventing the foot from functioning as it should. A mallet toe occurs when the joint at the end of the toe cannot straighten.
Excessive rubbing of the mallet toe against the top of the shoe can lead to pain and the development of a corn. The tip of the toe is often turned down against the shoe causing pressure and
discomfort. Arthritis can also lead to many forefoot deformities including mallet toes. Mallet toes can cause extreme discomfort, and can be aggravated if restrictive or improperly fitting footwear
is worn for a prolonged period of time.
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 Hammer toes
foot or wiggle your toes, claw-like toes. See your doctor or podiatrist right away if
you develop any of these symptoms.
The exam may reveal a toe in which the near bone of the toe (proximal phalanx) is angled upward and the middle bone of the toe points in the opposite direction (plantar flexed). Toes may appear
crooked or rotated. The involved joint may be painful when moved, or stiff. There may be areas of thickened skin (corns or calluses) on top of or between the toes, a callus may also be observed at
the tip of the affected toe beneath the toenail. An attempt to passively correct the deformity will help elucidate the best treatment option as the examiner determines whether the toe is still
flexible or not. It is advisable to assess palpable pulses, since their presence is associated with a good prognosis for healing after surgery. X-rays will demonstrate the contractures of the
involved joints, as well as possible arthritic changes and bone enlargements (exostoses, spurs). X-rays of the involved foot are usually performed in a weight-bearing position.
Non Surgical Treatment
Early on, when a hammertoe first starts and is still flexible, here are some ways it might be treated. Your healthcare provider may splint or tape the toe into the correct, normal position. You can
use your fingers to stretch your toes and toe joints toward a more normal position. Exercise your toes by trying to pick up marbles with them or by wadding up a towel on the floor with your toes.
Padding may be used to change where your weight falls when you walk on the foot.
Any surgery must be carefully considered and approached in a serious manner, as any procedure is serious for the patient. But in most cases the procedure is relatively straight forward. The surgery
can be done using local anesthetic and does not require hospitalization. The patient goes home in a special post-operative shoe or a regular sandal, and in most cases can walk immediately. That's not
to say that the patient is walking or functioning normally immediately after the procedure. The patient must take some time off work to rest the foot and allow it to heal.
Few people realize that their feet grow over the years: actually, the heel stays the same, but the front of the foot becomes wider and longer. The result, most women wear shoes that fit at the heel
but are much too narrow in the front. Buy shoes that fit the longer foot. For two out of three people, one foot is significantly bigger than the other. Have both feet measured whenever you buy shoes.
Have your feet measured while you're standing, and buy shoes that fit the larger foot. Shop at the end of the day, when foot swelling is greatest. No shoe should feel tight. Don't go by numbers. You
may think of yourself as a size 8B, but size varies from shoe to shoe. There is no standardization, so pick the shoes that fit best. Limit high-heel use. These shoes increase pressure on the front of
the foot by at least 50 percent, so wear them only for special occasions. Flat shoes are more comfortable than high heels, but they, too, can be hard on your feet, especially if they are thin-soled.
Change your shoes. If your shoes are too short or too narrow, get another pair. This is especially important for children going through periods of rapid growth. The toe area should be high enough so
that it doesn't rub against the top of your toes-especially if hammer toes have started to develop.