What is Hammertoe?
A contracture (bending) deformity of the second, third, fourth, or fifth (little) toe joints is known as a hammertoe. When wearing shoes, this irregular bending might exert pressure on the toe and lead to difficulties.
Hammertoes typically begin as minor abnormalities that worsen over time. Hammertoes are flexible in the early stages, and the symptoms are frequently treatable without surgery.
However, hammertoes can worsen and become more resistant to nonsurgical treatment if left untreated.
Hammertoes should be treated right away since they progress over time because hammertoes can never recover on their own.
The primary cause is wearing shoes with too high a heel or shoes that are too tight. The toes don't have enough space and hit the tops of the footwear and can therefore gradually become crooked.
Since the muscles of the toe hardly ever move - especially since the foot usually stays tight all day in orthopedically unfavorable shoes - they atrophy, and the development of a hammer toe is only a matter of time.
Likewise, improper foot position such as slip foot, flat foot, or arched foot can promote the development of hammer toe and claw feet.
Neurological diseases as well as injuries to the muscles or nerves of the feet or even the lower part of the legs can also be causative factors.
Less commonly, genetic factors are responsible for hammertoes or bunions.
How to recognize Hammertoe?
The primary symptom in this case is a typical toe deformity in which the terminal phalanx of the toe is pointed downward, and the middle phalanx of the toe is hyperextended upward. Thus, the toe's form is like that of a hammer.
A hammer toe and a claw toe differ from one another in that the top of the toe contacts the ground. Many patients have more than one toe affected by the deformity. Many times, persons who are impacted only have aesthetic symptoms. Others, however, have instability brought on by poor toe alignment, which can result in pathological stress being placed on the foot. This is particularly true if multiple toes are malformed. Pressure points and excruciating pain may arise from this. The leg or toe of the claw continues to distort in later phases. Over time, the discomfort grows more severe.
Hammertoe can be healed in a variety of ways. Your ankle and foot doctor's choice of treatment will be determined by your hammertoe's severity as well as other variables.
There are various nonsurgical choices available:
- Padding calluses and corns
Pads designed to safeguard corns from irritation can be obtained or prescribed by your foot and ankle surgeon. Avoid the medicated brands of over-the-counter pads if you desire to test them. In general, it is not a smart option to use medicated pads as they may contain a tiny quantity of acid that is dangerous. Ask your doctor for advice on this choice.
- Improvements in footwear
Avoid shoes with pointed toes, short shoes, or heels that are too high since these elements can push your toe up against the front of the shoe. Instead, look for comfortable footwear with a wide, deep toe box and two-inch maximum heels.
- Orthotic equipment
Your shoe's positioning of a custom orthotic device may help you control the muscle/tendon imbalance. injection treatment Injections of corticosteroids may indeed be administered to treat hammertoe-related inflammation and pain.
To reduce discomfort and inflammation, doctors may recommend consuming oral
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen. Splinting/strapping.
The surgeon may use splints or tiny straps to correct the crooked toe.