is a type of crooked toe that involve unnatural contracture, or bending, of your toes. In most cases, a hammertoe is
characterized by a toe malposition in which the end of your affected toe points down and the first joint of your same toe-your proximal interphalangeal joint-points up. This crooked toe syndrome
usually leads to rubbing within your shoe and pain. A hammertoe resembles an upside-down letter v when viewed from the side. This crooked toe syndrome most commonly affects your second to fifth toes,
though it may also affect your big toe. This health problem is more commonly experienced by women than men.
The muscles of each toe work in pairs. When the toe muscles get out of balance, a hammer toe can form. Muscle imbalance puts a lot of pressure on the toe's tendons and joints. This pressure forces
the toe into a hammerhead shape. How do the toe muscles get out of balance? There are three main reasons. Your genes, you may have inherited a tendency to develop hammer toes because your foot is
slightly unstable - such as a flat foot. But high-arched feet can also get hammer toes. Arthritis. Injury to the toe: ill-fitting shoes are the main culprits of this cause. If shoes are too tight,
too short, or too pointy, they push the toes out of balance. Pointy, high-heeled shoes put particularly severe pressure on the toes.
Pain upon pressure at the top of the bent toe from footwear. The formation of corns on the top of the joint. Redness and swelling at the joint contracture. Restricted or painful motion of the toe
joint. Pain in the ball of the foot at the base of the affected toe.
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 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
Your doctor may prescribe some toe exercises that you can do at home to stretch and strengthen the muscles. For Hammer toe
example, you can gently stretch the toes manually. You can use your toes to pick things up off the
floor. While you watch television or read, you can put a towel flat under your feet and use your toes to crumple it. Finally, your doctor may recommend that you use commercially available straps,
cushions or nonmedicated corn pads to relieve symptoms. If you have diabetes, poor circulation or a lack of feeling in your feet, talk to your doctor before attempting any self-treatment.
If this fails or if treatment is not sought until the toes are permanently misaligned, then surgery may be required. Surgery may involve either cutting the tendon or fusing the joint. Congenital
conditions should be treated in early childhood with manipulations and splinting.
Most cases of hammertoe can be prevented by wearing shoes that fit properly and give the toes plenty of room. Some recommended guidelines include avoid shoes with pointed or narrow toes. Avoid shoes
that are too tight or short. Avoid high-heeled shoes, which can force the toes forward. If the shoes hurt, don't wear them. Choose shoes with wide or boxy toes. Choose shoes that are a half-inch
longer than your longest toe.