Hammertoe – What is it, and how to treat it?

Hallux flexus, commonly known as hammertoe, is a foot deformity that occurs due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that help hold the toes straight. This imbalance leads to an abnormal bend in the middle joint of the toe. Hammertoe only occurs to the second, third, or fourth toe, and the toe curls downwards, resembling a hammer.

Types of hammertoes

The two types of hammertoes include:

  1. Flexible hammertoe: In flexible hammertoe, the patient can move the toe at the joint. This is a milder form of hammertoe, and there are various treatments available.
  2. Rigid hammertoe: The tendons press the joint out of alignment when they get rigid, and the patient is unable to move the toe. This type is called rigid hammertoe and usually requires surgery.

Common causes

  1. High heels or Ill-fitted footwear: High heels or ill-fitted shoes provide no room for the toes and force them into a flexed position. Therefore, if you wear tight shoes or pointed heels for a longer period, you can develop hammertoes, and your toes will not straighten even when you are barefoot.
  2. Gender: Probably because of the footwear choices, women are more susceptible to developing hammertoes than men.
  3. Age: As the muscles of older people weaken, they are more prone to developing hammertoes.
  4. Injuries: Accidental stubbing or jamming of the toe is another common cause of hammertoe.
  5. Toe length: You can be more susceptible to developing hammertoes if your second toe is longer than the first one.
  6. Genetics: This foot deformity can also be inherited and may run in families.
  7. Diseases: Patients who have diabetes and arthritis are more likely to develop several foot problems, including hammertoe.

How to treat?

If you have a flexible hammertoe, certain lifestyle changes and exercises are enough to treat it.

  • Perform exercises like picking up the marble with the toe.
  • Avoid wearing ill-fitted footwear and switch to proper ones with low heels and enough room for the toes.
  • Use a podiatrist-designed shoe insert to reduce pain and stop the problem from escalating.
  • Use over-the-counter corn pads and foot straps.

But if your condition has worsened and you cannot move your toe, you might need an operation. The surgery would be performed to straighten the toe, realign tendons, and remove the deformed bone.

Hammer Toe Crutch for hammertoes 

If you are suffering from hammertoes, we have an ideal solution for you. At FootDocStore.com, we sell Hammer Toe Crutch, which takes the pressure off the sore toe tips and supports the concerned toe. This crutch is available in different sizes to fit perfectly to your toes.

Posted in Foot Care News.