Do you have crooked toes or toes that look like little hammers or claws? You may have hammer toes. A hammer toe or contracted toe is a deformity caused by a tendon imbalance on the second, third or fourth toe causing it to be permanently bent, resembling a hammer. Mallet toe and claw toe are similar to hammer toes.
Hammer toes are most often caused from wearing ill fitted shoes that force the toe into a bent position. Wearing these shoes for long periods of time can cause the muscles in them to shorten, resulting in the hammer toe deformity.
The hammer toe deformity can be flexible, semi-rigid, or rigid in nature. In a flexible hammer toe, the joint has the ability to move. This type of hammer toe can be straightened manually. A rigid or semi-rigid hammer toe does not have that same ability to move. Movement is very limited and can be extremely painful. This sometimes causes foot movement to become restricted leading to extra stress to the ball of the foot, and possibly causing pain and may also cause painful corns and calluses on the top of the digit (at the joint) and at the tip of the toe--due to pressure--or under the ball of the foot from retrograde pressure.
Conservative treatment starts with new shoes with soft, deep toe boxes to avoid rubbing. Your podiatrist may also recommend padding to decrease pressure on the area.
Surgery would be the final resort. Your podiatrist can do a simple procedure done in office called Percutaneous Tenotomy, which releases the contracted tendon. For more serious hammer toes, your podiatrist can do 1 or 2 surgeries in the operating room. Arthroplasty is a surgery to relieve pain and restore range of motion by reconstructing a joint. Arthrodesis is a surgical procedure which fuses the bones that form a joint, essentially eliminating the joint.
If you have hammer toes and live in the Dayton/Springfield area, Community Foot Specialists can help! Call today to schedule your appointment. We’re always accepting new patients! 937-426-9500