Hammertoe is a contracture (bending) of one or both joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth (little) toes. This abnormal bending can put pressure on the toe when wearing shoes, causing problems to develop.
Hammertoes usually start out as mild deformities and get progressively worse over time. In the earlier stages, hammertoes are flexible and the symptoms can often be managed with noninvasive measures. But if left untreated, hammertoes can become more rigid and will not respond to non-surgical treatment. Some of the symptoms of hammer toe are; pain or irritation of the affected toe when wearing shoes and corns and calluses on the toe, between two toes, or on the ball of the foot. Inflammation, redness, or a burning sensation is also indications that you might have hammer toe
Because of the progressive nature of hammertoes, they should receive early attention. Hammertoes never get better without some kind of intervention.
- Muscle/tendon imbalance. The most common cause of hammertoe is a muscle/tendon imbalance.
This imbalance, which leads to a bending of the toe, results from mechanical (structural) changes in the foot that occur over time in some people.
- Improper footwear. Hammertoes may be aggravated by shoes that don't fit properly. A hammertoe may result if a toe is too
long and is forced into a cramped position when a tight shoe is worn.
- Injury. Occasionally, hammertoe is the result of an earlier trauma to the toe.
- Heredity. In some people, hammertoes are inherited.
Treatments we provide
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- Orthotic devices. A custom orthotic device placed in the shoe may help control the muscle/tendon imbalance.
- Changes in footwear. We provide or recommend comfortable shoes with a deep, roomy toe box and heels no higher than two inches. We discourage shoes with pointed toes, shoes that are too short, or shoes with high heels.