Hammer Toe

Description

It is a condition of malformation of the proximal interphalangeal joint of all the toes except big one resulting into the permanent bend of the toes, looking like a hammer. Due to the abnormal anatomy of the toes, problems arise when shoes are worn. Also, muscles become smaller because of the toes are continually bent.

Causes

Hammer toe often occurs due to wearing poorly fitting shoes that bend the toe down. Usually high heels or shoes having narrow toe space lead to this condition. Hammer toe deformity may also occur along with different foot conditions, such as bunions. It can also be the result of damage to joint, muscle, or nerve. It occurs in conditions such as osteoarthritis, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or stroke.

Symptoms

The symptoms of hammer toes include pain on the dorsal aspect of the bent toe. Corns may also be found on the on the top of toe. The affected area becomes red and swollen. There is a reduced range of motion of the toes joints.

Treatment (non-surgical)

Conservative treatment for hammer toes includes physiotherapy of the foot. Use shoes that are soft and have a wider toe space. Exercises particularly for toes can also help. Ice packs and pain killers can also help if you are in pain. Special pads and cushions may also be used to reduce pain in the toes and under the ball-of-foot.