What Is A Hammer toe
? A hammer toe, or claw toe, describes a condition where the toe(s) become buckled,
contracted or crooked. The toe could even cross over an adjacent toe, which is called a cross over toe. Any of the toes may be affected, but the 2nd and 5th toe are most commonly involved.
Hammer toes are most frequently caused by a muscle - tendon imbalance in the foot, and are seen both in adults and children. Foot muscles work in pairs to straighten and bend the toes. If your foot
has a biomechanical defect, the muscles tighten and the tendons shorten. Eventually, the toe muscles can?t straighten the toe, even when barefoot. Contributing factors are poor choices in footwear,
arthritis, or trauma.
A hammertoe may be present but not always painful unless irritated by shoes. One may have enlarged toe joints with some thickened skin and no redness or swelling. However, if shoes create pressure on
the joint, the pain will usually range from pinching and squeezing to sharp and burning. In long standing conditions, the dislocated joints can cause the pain of arthritis.
The earlier a hammertoe is diagnosed, the better the prognosis and treatment options. Your doctor will be able to diagnose your hammertoe with a simple examination of the foot and your footwear. He
or she may take an x-ray to check the severity of the condition. You may also be asked about your symptoms, your normal daily activities, and your medical and family history.
Non Surgical Treatment
Early on, when a hammertoe first starts and is still flexible, here are some ways it might be treated. Your healthcare provider may splint or tape the toe into the correct, normal position. You can
use your fingers to stretch your toes and toe joints toward a more normal position. Exercise your toes by trying to pick up marbles with them or by wadding up a towel on the floor with your toes.
Padding may be used to change where your weight falls when you walk on the foot.
In some cases, usually when the hammertoe has become more rigid and painful, or when an open sore has developed, surgery is needed. Often patients with hammertoe have bunions or other foot
deformities corrected at the same time. In selecting the procedure or combination of procedures for your particular case, the foot and ankle surgeon will take into consideration the extent of your
deformity, the number of toes involved, your age, your activity level, and other factors. The length of the recovery period will vary, depending on the procedure or procedures performed.
elect and wear the right shoe for specific activities (such as running shoes for running). Alternate shoes. Don't wear the same pair of shoes every day. Avoid walking barefoot, which increases the
risk for injury and infection. At the beach hammertoe
or when wearing sandals,
always use sunblock on your feet, as you would on the rest of your body. Be cautious when using home remedies for foot ailments. Self-treatment can often turn a minor problem into a major one. It is
critical that people with diabetes see a podiatric physician at least once a year for a checkup. People with diabetes, poor circulation, or heart problems should not treat their own feet, including
toenails, because they are more prone to infection.