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Hammertoe

What Is a Hammertoe?

A hammertoe occurs when one or more of the toes is in a contracted position, occasionally causing pain due to pressure points at the contractures. They usually begin as mild deformities that can progress over time.

Because of the progressive nature of hammertoes, they should receive early attention. Hammertoes never get better without some kind of intervention.

Causes

The most common cause of hammertoe is a muscle/tendon imbalance that is usually a result of a combination of a predisposed foot type and shoegear/activity contribution. Hammertoes are generally worsened by cramped footwear.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of hammertoes include:

  • Pain with tight shoes
  • Corns and calluses on a toe
  • Contracture of the toe
  • Redness of a toe near the joint, and a potential open sore here


Non-surgical Treatment

Non surgical management of hammertoes usually involves padding of corns and calluses, toe splinting, shoegear modification, and orthotic (foot arch support) therapy.

Surgery

Surgical correction of a hammertoe is usually performed when all manner of conservative therapy has failed and when the hammertoe begins to more seriously affect the quality of the patient’s daily activity level. The surgical procedures for hammertoes are quite varied and usually tailored towards the individual, taking into account X ray findings, age and activity level.