is a deformity of the toe in which the toe bends downward at the middle joint, causing it to resemble a hammer. Hammertoes usually begin
as mild problems, but over time they can develop into severe cases. Hammertoes are often flexible during the initial stages, and if treatment is administered promptly, symptoms can be managed with
non-surgical methods. But if time passes and you do not seek treatment, your hammertoe will become more rigid, and surgical treatment may be required.
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.
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. Your shoes can rub against the raised portion of the toe or toes, causing painful corns or calluses.
Although hammertoes are readily apparent, to arrive at a diagnosis the foot and ankle surgeon will obtain a thorough history of your symptoms and examine your foot. During the physical examination,
the doctor may attempt to reproduce your symptoms by manipulating your foot and will study the contractures of the toes. In addition, the foot and ankle surgeon may take x-rays to determine the
degree of the deformities and assess any changes that may have occurred.
Non Surgical Treatment
Putting padding between your toes and strapping them in place can help to stop pain caused by the toes rubbing. Custom-made insoles for your shoes will help to take the pressure off any painful
areas. Special shoes that are wider and deeper than normal can stop your toes rubbing. However if your pain persists your consultant may recommend an surgery.
Ordinary hammertoe procedures often use exposed wires which extend outside the end of toes for 4-6 weeks. Common problems associated with wires include infection where the wires come out of the toe,
breakage, pain from hitting the wire, and lack of rotational stability causing the toe to look crooked. In addition, wires require a second in-office procedure to remove them, which can cause a lot
of anxiety for many patients. Once inserted, implants remain within the bone, correcting the pain Hammer
and deformity of hammertoes while eliminating many of the complications specific traditional treatments.