Hammer Toe: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Hammer Toe: Causes, Symptoms and TreatmentIf your second toe is bent downward in a claw-like position, you may have a condition called hammer toe. Although hammer toe can affect any of your toes, it’s most commonly seen in the second toe.

What Causes Hammer Toe?

Hammer toe is frequently caused by wearing shoes that don’t fit correctly. In particular, shoes that are narrow, too tight or too short may cause the toes to cramp, and when ill-fitting shoes are worn repeatedly hammer toes may develop.

These types of ill-fitting shoes force your toe into a bent position. Over time, your tendons and muscles tighten and shorten, causing the characteristic downward bend. Hammer toe is often seen in women who wear high heels or poor fitting shoes or in children who continue to wear shoes they have outgrown. Though rare, in some cases the condition is present at birth.

Symptoms of hammer toes include:

  • ·         Pain in the toe
  • ·         One or more toes that are bent downward from the middle joint
  • The toe becomes unable to straighten without support

Additionally, a corn often develops on the top of the affected toe and a callus often forms on the sole of the foot.

Treatment and Prevention of Hammer Toes

You can prevent hammer toes from ever developing by paying close attention to your footwear choices and keeping your feet comfortable. Avoiding high heels, wearing wide shoes and wearing the right sized shoes can help completely prevent a hammer toe occurring.

To treat mild or moderate hammer toe, your Boca Raton, Florida foot doctor can make a device called a straightener or foot regulator. If you’re still able to straighten your toe, exercises such as picking up a towel with your toes can help. In children who have mild hammer toe, a foot physician can treat the condition by splinting the toe affected.

For more severe hammer toe condition, your Boca Raton foot surgeon may need to operate to straighten the toe joint, which may consist of cutting or relocating ligaments and tendons or fussing together the bones on each side of the joint.