One of the most common foot deformities, hammertoe is a condition in which the toes curl under like the claw portion of a hammer. In patients suffering from hammertoe, the affected toes stay bent at the joint, unable to flatten out into a more natural position. In addition to the unfortunate claw-like appearance, hammertoes can cause tenderness, swelling, painful corns and calluses, joint stiffness, and even difficulty walking. Hammertoes are generally caused by a muscle tendon imbalance and, if left untreated, will get progressively worse
What causes hammertoe?
Your toe contains two joints that allow it to bend at the middle and bottom. A hammer toe occurs when the middle joint becomes flexed or bent downward.
Common causes of this include:
- a traumatic toe injury
- an unusually high foot arch
- wearing shoes that don’t fit properly
- tightened ligaments or tendons in the foot
- pressure from a bunion, which is when your big toe points inward toward your second toe
Treatment is based on the severity of your condition. Cushions pads, properly fitted shoes, and custom orthotics combined with exercises can be implemented to alleviate symptoms. Also, surgical intervention may be necessary to correct the condition.