Hammertoe is a deformity commonly of the second, third or fourth toes. In this condition, the toe is contracted at the middle joint, resembling a hammer and leading to severe pressure and pain. Left untreated, hammertoes can become inflexible and require surgery. People with hammertoe may have corns or calluses on the top of the middle joint of the toe or on the tip of the toe. They may have difficulty finding comfortable shoes.
Hammer toe normally is caused by a muscle imbalance in which causes the ligaments and tendons to become too tight. Flat Feet, traumatic injuries, and underlying diseases may increase the risk for hammer toes. Diseases and conditions that increase the risk include neuromuscular diseases (e.g. multiple sclerosis, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, cerebral palsy), inflammatory diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis) and diabetes.
Treatment for the condition typically involves shoes with soft, roomy toe boxes and toe exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles. Commercially available straps, cushions or non-medicated corn pads may also relieve symptoms. If the problem persists please contact your podiatrist.
Specialised consultation and care for hammer toes at Temple Clinic in Ealing, West London