affects both joints of a toe, causing the toe to bend upwards at the
proximal joint (the joint closest to the foot) and down at the distal joint (the one farthest away from the foot). The resulting unnatural bend is often compared to an upside down "V" and also to a
hammer or a claw (The condition is sometimes referred to as clawtoe or clawfoot). A similar condition, in which the first joint of a toe simply bends downward, is called mallet toe. Since the arched
bending of hammertoe often causes the toe to rub against the top of the shoe's toe box and against the sole, painful corns and calluses develop on the toes. Hammertoe can also be a result of
squeezing within a too-small or ill-fitting shoe or wearing high heels that jam your toes into a tight toe box inside your shoe, arthritis, trauma and muscle and nerve damage from diseases such as
diabetes. Probably because of the tight-shoe and high-heel shoe factors, hammertoe tends to occur far more often in women than in men.
Some causes of hammertoe are shoes that are too tight or short, shoes with high heels, injury, Diseases that affect the nerves and muscles, such as arthritis and diabetes. When shoes do not fit well,
over time the pressure of the shoes pushes the toes into a bent position. After a while, the muscles become unable to straighten the toe, even when you are not wearing shoes. Similarly, when there is
damage or disease of the nerves or muscles in the toes, the toe may rest in the bent position until the tendons become permanently shortened and the toe becomes a rigid hammertoe. The risk of
developing a hammertoe increases with age. Women are much more likely to develop a hammertoe than men.
Signs and symptoms of hammertoe and mallet toe may include a hammer-like or claw-like appearance of a toe. In mallet toe, a deformity at the end of the toe, giving the toe a mallet-like appearance.
Pain and difficulty moving the toe. Corns and calluses resulting from the toe rubbing against the inside of your footwear. Both hammertoe and mallet toe can cause pain with walking and other foot
Hammertoes are progressive, they don?t go away by themselves and usually they will get worse over time. However, not all cases are alike, some hammertoes progress more rapidly than others. Once your
foot and ankle surgeon has evaluated your hammertoes, a treatment plan can be developed that is suited to your needs.
Non Surgical Treatment
Symptoms of hammer toe might be helped through corn pads or cushions to alleviate them. If the person's hammer toes were caused by an underlying disease, the person should ask for their doctor's
advice prior to performing any exercises without consent. It is also important for a person with hammer toes to remember that they must not attempt to treat or remove corns by themselves. If open
cuts result from attempts to remove them, an infection becomes a very real possibility. People who experience diabetes or conditions that lead to poor circulation in their feet need to be especially
For severe hammer toe, you will need an operation to straighten the joint. The Hammer toes
surgery often involves cutting or moving tendons and ligaments.
Sometimes the bones on each side of the joint need to be connected (fused) together. Most of the time, you will go home on the same day as the surgery. The toe may still be stiff afterward, and it
may be shorter. If the condition is treated early, you can often avoid surgery. Treatment will reduce pain and walking difficulty.