Hammer toes are classified based on the mobility of the toe joints. There are two types. Flexible and rigid. In a flexible Hammer toe
, the joint has the ability to move. This type of hammer toe can be straightened manually. A 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 at the
ball-of-the-foot, and possibly causing pain and the development of corns and calluses.
It is possible to be born with a hammer toe, however many people develop the deformity later in life. Common causes include tightened tendons that cause the toe to curl downward. Nerve injuries or
problems with the spinal cord. Stubbing, jamming or breaking a toe. Having a stroke. Being a diabetic. Having a second toe that is longer than the big toe. Wearing high heels or tight shoes that
crowd the toes and don?t allow them to lie flat. Aging.
A hammertoe causes you discomfort when you walk. It can also cause you pain when trying to stretch or move the affected toe or those around it. Hammertoe symptoms may be mild or severe. Mild
Symptoms, a toe that is bent downward, corns or calluses. Severe Symptoms, difficulty walking, the inability to flex your foot or wiggle your toes, claw-like toes. See your doctor or podiatrist right
away if you develop any of these symptoms.
Some questions your doctor may ask of you include, when did you first begin having foot problems? How much pain are your feet or toes causing you? Where is the pain located? What, if anything, seems
to improve your symptoms? What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms? What kind of shoes do you normally wear? Your doctor can diagnose hammertoe or mallet toe by examining your foot. Your
doctor may also order X-rays to further evaluate the bones and joints of your feet and toes.
Non Surgical Treatment
Changing the type of footwear worn is a very important step in the treatment of hammer toes. When choosing a Hammer toe
shoe, make sure
the toe box (toe area) is high and broad, and can accommodate the hammer toes. A shoe with a high, broad toe box will provide enough room in the forefoot area so that there is less friction against
the toes. Other conservative treatments include using forefoot products designed to relieve hammer toes, such as hammer toe crests and hammer toe splints. These devices will help hold down the hammer
toe and provide relief to the forefoot. Gel toe shields and gel toe caps are also recommended to eliminate friction between the shoe and the toe, while providing comfort and lubrication.
If you have a severe case of hammer toe or if the affected toe is no longer flexible, you may need surgery to straighten your toe joint. Surgery requires only a local anesthetic (numbing medicine for
the affected area) and is usually an outpatient procedure. This means you don?t have to stay in the hospital for the surgery.
If you wish to prevent or cure a bunion or hammertoe deformity naturally, you must be willing to view your footwear as health equipment, rather than as fashion statements. Even our walking and
running shoes have tapering toeboxes, heel elevation and toespring, which encourage bunion and hammertoe formation, yet the market shows us that fashion and style rule most people?s agenda when it
comes to buying footwear.