is the result of deformed toe joints, tight tendons that attach to the toe, and misaligned toe bones. The usual appearance
of a hammertoe is a toe bent upward at the middle toe joint, so that the top of this joint rubs against the top of the shoe. The remainder of the toe is bent downward so that, instead of the entire
toe bearing weight, only the tip of the toe bears weight. Pain can occur on the top of the toe, the tip of the toe, or in both areas.
A common cause of hammertoe and mallet toe is wearing improper footwear - shoes that are too tight in the toe box, or high-heel shoes. Wearing shoes of either type can push your toes forward,
crowding one or more of them into a space that's not large enough to allow your toes to lie flat. Hammertoe and mallet toe deformities can also be inherited and may occur despite wearing appropriate
footwear. The result is a toe that bends upward in the middle and then curls down in a hammer-like or claw-like shape. Your shoes can rub against the raised portion of the toe or toes, causing
painful corns or calluses. The bottom of the affected toe can press down, creating the mallet-like appearance of mallet toe. At first, a hammertoe or mallet toe may maintain its flexibility and lie
flat when you're not wearing crowded footwear. But eventually, the tendons of the toe may contract and tighten, causing your toe to become permanently stiff.
Hammer, claw, and mallet toes can cause discomfort and pain and may make it hard to walk. Shoes may rub on your toes, causing pain, blisters, calluses or corns, or sores. Sores can become infected
and lead to cellulitis or osteomyelitis, especially if you have diabetes or peripheral arterial disease. If you have one of these health problems and sores develop, contact your doctor.
Some questions your doctor may ask of you include, when did you first begin having foot problems? How much pain are your feet or toes causing you? Where is the pain located? What, if anything, seems
to improve your symptoms? What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms? What kind of shoes do you normally wear? Your doctor can diagnose hammertoe or mallet toe by examining your foot. Your
doctor may also order X-rays to further evaluate the bones and joints of your feet and toes.
Non Surgical Treatment
You can usually use over-the-counter cushions, pads, or medications to treat bunions and corns. However, if they are painful or if they have caused your toes to become deformed, your doctor may opt
to surgically remove them. If you have blisters on your Hammer toe
toes, do not pop them. Popping blisters
can cause pain and infection. Use over-the-counter creams and cushions to relieve pain and keep blisters from rubbing against the inside of your shoes. Gently stretching your toes can also help
relieve pain and reposition the affected toe.
Until recently, wires were used for surgical correction. In this technique, one or more wires are inserted into the bone through both the affected joint and a normally healthy toe joint, and the end
of the toe. These wires stay in place for four to six weeks, protruding from the end of the toes. Due to the protruding wire, simple things such working, driving, bathing and even sleeping are
difficult while these wires are in place. During this recovery period, patients often experience discomfort during sleep and are subject possible infection.