is a painful deformity wherein a toe bends unnaturally and becomes clawlike. This happens because the
tendons of the toe contract abnormally, forcing the toe to bend downward and the middle joint of the toe to protrude upward. Although any toe may be affected, hammertoe usually affects the second
toe. The toe assumes a clawlike position and cannot be straightened out. When someone with hammertoe wears shoes, the toe is constantly rubbed, so walking may become especially painful if a callus on
the sole of the foot or a corn on the top of a toe develops.
The incorrect position of the person's toes inside of their shoes also causes the formation of calluses or corns on the surfaces of their toes which are constantly bent as they are wearing
inappropriate shoes because the surfaces are consistently rubbing against the hard materials of the interior of the shoes causing regular friction.
Well-developed hammertoes are distinctive due to the abnormal bent shape of the toe. However, there are many other common symptoms. Some symptoms may be present before the toe becomes overly bent or
fixed in the contracted position. Often, before the toe becomes permanently contracted, there will be pain or irritation over the top of the toe, particularly over the joint. The symptoms are
pronounced while wearing shoes due to the top of the toe rubbing against the upper portion of the shoe. Often, there is a significant amount of hammertoe
friction between the toe and the shoe or between the toe and the toes on either side of it. The corns may be soft or hard, depending on their
location and age. The affected toe may also appear red with irritated skin. In more severe cases, blisters or open sores may form. Those with diabetes should take extra care if they develop any of
these symptoms, as they could lead to further complications.
First push up on the bottom of the metatarsal head associated with the affected toe and see if the toe straightens out. If it does, then an orthotic could correct the problem, usually with a
metatarsal pad. If the toe does not straighten out when the metatarsal head is pushed up, then that indicates that contracture in the capsule and ligaments (capsule contracts because the joint was in
the wrong position for too long) of the MTP joint has set in and surgery is required. Orthotics are generally required post-surgically.
Non Surgical Treatment
To keep your hammertoes more comfortable, start by replacing your tight, narrow, pointy shoes with those that have plenty of room in the toes. Skip the high heels in favor of low-heeled shoes to take
the pressure off your toes. You should have at least one-half inch between your longest toe and the tip of your shoe. If you don't want to go out and buy new shoes, see if your local shoe repair shop
can stretch your shoes to make the toe area more accommodating to your hammertoe.
As previously mentioned it?s best to catch this problem early; hammer toe taping is relatively harmless and simple. Long term complications can cause foot deformities and even difficulty walking.
It?s always best to stiff shoes and high heel, especially if you?re working on hammer toe recovery. Pick comfortable shoes with plenty of toe space. Prevention is the best cure here as this injury is
nearly always self inflicted.
As you get older, feet get bigger. Get your feet measured every time you buy shoes. Don't go by shoe sizes. Shoe sizes vary among manufacturers; a shoe is the right size only when it fits
comfortably. The ball of your foot should fit into the widest part of the shoe. A shoe should be sturdy such that it only bends in the ball of the foot, exactly where your big toes bend. Any shoe
that can be bent anywhere along the sole or twisted side to side is generally too flimsy.