Hammertoes usually start out as mild deformities and get progressively worse over time. In the earlier stages, hammertoes are flexible and the symptoms can often be managed with changes in shoe
styles and foot care products. But if left untreated, hammertoes can become more rigid and painful. Corns are more likely to develop as time goes on-and corns never really go away, even after
trimming. In more severe cases of Hammer toes
, corn lesions may evolve into
severe ulcerations. These lesions frequently occur in patients who have vascular disease or are Diabetic with neuropathy. The ulcerations can extend to the bone and result in infection and possible
loss of digit or amputation.
Flat feet can result in hammertoes, this is due to poor mechanics off the foot. High arched feet can also result in buckling toes. A major cause is in hereditary, all the toe conditions mentioned
could be acquired due in hereditary factors. Bunions are a major cause of hammertoes. Claw toes are usually the result of a shoe that is too short. For many people, the second toe is actually longer
than the great toe, and if shoes are sized to fit the great toe, the second (and maybe even the third toe) will have to bend to fit into the shoe. Shoes that are pointed make matters even worse.
Combine pointed shoes with high heels, the foot is under similar pressure as if it was constantly being pushed downhill into a wall. Rheumatoid arthritis can also lead to bunions, which in turn can
lead to hammer toes.
Hammer, claw, and mallet toes can cause discomfort and pain and may make it hard to walk. Shoes may rub on your toes, causing pain, blisters, calluses or corns, or sores. Sores can become infected
and lead to cellulitis or osteomyelitis, especially if you have diabetes or peripheral arterial disease. If you have one of these health problems and sores develop, contact your doctor.
Hammer toes may be easily detected through observation. The malformation of the person's toes begin as mild distortions, yet may worsen over time - especially if the factors causing the hammer toes
are not eased or removed. If the condition is paid attention to early enough, the person's toes may not be permanently damaged and may be treated without having to Hammer toes
receive surgical intervention. If the person's toes remain untreated for too long,
however the muscles within the toes might stiffen even more and will require invasive procedures to correct the deformity.
Non Surgical Treatment
In the earlier stages of hammer toe, when the toes can still be manually straightened, then conservative treatment is appropriate. This means wearing shoes which are a half size bigger than normal
and which are not narrow around the toes. Exercises to stretch the toes out and strengthen the muscles under the foot which balances the tightness of the top tendons are important. Padding or corn
plasters can be used to ease the discomfort of any associated corns and calluses.
Surgical Options: Several surgical procedures are available to the podiatric physician. For less severe deformities, the surgery will remove the bony prominence and restore normal alignment of the
toe joint, thus relieving pain. Severe hammer toes, which are not fully reducible, may require more complex surgical procedures. Recuperation takes time, and some swelling and discomfort are common
for several weeks following surgery. Any pain, however, is easily managed with medications prescribed by your podiatrist.