The Hammer toes
condition is usually irreversible, but often its progression can be slowed or halted. You
should visit a Podiatrist if the toe becomes painful and you have difficulty walking. A Podiatrist will be able to provide advice and treatment including padding the bony top-part of your hammertoe
to relieve pain or to tape your toes as a way to change their position. Podiatrists have an important role to play in preventing and managing foot problems. Prompt action is important. Problems which
are left without assessment or treatment may result in major health risks.
Claw, hammer and mallet toe are most commonly caused by wearing high heels or ill-fitting shoes that are too tight e.g. narrow toebox. If shoes like this are worn for long periods, the foot is held
in a slightly bent position and gradually over time, the muscles tighten and shorten. If this continues for long enough, then the muscles become so tight that even when shoes are removed, the toe is
still held in the bent position. Another common cause is Morton?s Toe, where the second toe is longer than the big toe. In this case, the second toe is commonly squashed into a shoe into an
unnaturally bent position.
Some people never have troubles with hammer toes. In fact, some people don't even know they have them. They can become uncomfortable, especially while wearing shoes. Many people who develop symptoms
with hammer toes will develop corns, blisters and pain on the top of the toe, where it rubs against the shoe or between the toes, where it rubs against the adjacent toe. You can also develop calluses
on the balls of the feet, as well as cramping, aching and an overall fatigue in the foot and leg.
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
If your hammertoe problem is diagnosed as flexible hammertoe, there are a number of nonsurgical hammertoe
treatments that may be able
to straighten out your toe or toes and return them to their proper alignment. Padding and Taping. Your physician may pad the boney top-part of your hammertoe as a means of relieving pain, and may
tape your toes as a way to change their position, correct the muscle imbalance and relieve the pressure that led to the hammertoe's development. Medication. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin
and ibuprofen can help deal with inflammation, swelling and pain caused by your hammertoe. Cortisone injections may be prescribed for the same purpose. If your hammertoe is a consequence of
arthritis, your physician may prescribe medications for that.
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.