A #LINK is a common and painful deformity in the three middle toes where they appear to always be bent. Causes of hammer toes include shoes that don?t fit properly, foot injuries, bunions and
rheumatoid arthritis. Having toe joints sticking out can cause them to rub and a person may walk differently, risking other foot conditions, such as metatarsalgia. Hammer toes can be a serious
problem in people with diabetes or poor circulation.
Ill-fitting shoes or a muscle imbalance are the most common causes of Hammer Toe. If there is an issue with a muscle in the second, third or fourth toes preventing them from straightening, Hammer Toe
can result. If one of these toes is bent long enough in one position, the muscles tighten and cannot stretch Hammer toes
out. Left untreated, surgery may be required. Women are especially prone to developing
Hammer Toe because of their shoes. Hammer Toe results from shoes that don?t fit properly. Shoes that narrow toward the toe, pushing smaller toes into a bend position for extended periods of time.
High heels that force the foot down into a narrow space, forcing the toes against the shoe, increasing the bend in the toe.
If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to hammer toe. Talk to your doctor about symptoms such as a toe that curls down, corns on the top of a toe, calluses on the sole of the foot
or bottom of the toe, pain in the middle joint of a toe, discomfort on the top of a toe, difficulty finding any shoes that fit comfortably, cramping in a toe, and sometimes also the foot and leg,
difficult or painful motion of a toe joint, pain in the ball of the foot or at the base of a toe.
Most health care professionals can diagnose hammertoe simply by examining your toes and feet. X-rays of the feet are not needed to diagnose hammertoe, but they may be useful to look for signs of some
types of arthritis (such as rheumatoid arthritis) or other disorders that can cause hammertoe. If the deformed toe is very painful, your doctor may recommend that you have a fluid sample withdrawn
from the joint with a needle so the fluid can be checked for signs of infection or gout (arthritis from crystal deposits).
Non Surgical Treatment
In the earlier stages of hammer toe, when the toes can still be manually straightened, then conservative treatment is appropriate. This means wearing shoes which are a half size bigger than normal
and which are not narrow around the toes. Exercises to stretch the toes out and strengthen the muscles under the foot which balances the tightness of the top tendons are important. Padding or corn
plasters can be used to ease the discomfort of any associated corns and calluses.
Any surgery must be carefully considered and approached in a serious manner, as any procedure is serious for the patient. But in most cases the procedure is relatively straight forward. The surgery
can be done using local anesthetic and does not require hospitalization. The patient goes home in a special post-operative shoe or a regular sandal, and in most cases can walk immediately. That's not
to say that the patient is walking or functioning normally immediately after the procedure. The patient must take some time off work to rest the foot and allow it to heal.