What are Hammertoes?
Hammertoes occur when there is a muscle and ligament imbalance around the toe joint. This causes the middle joint of the tow to bend and become stuck in that position. The most common complaint that occurs with hammertoes is rubbing and irritation along the top of the bent toe. The three middle toes are most likely to be affected, and is more commonly found amongst women rather then men (this is due to the type of footwear being worn.) Individuals who have diabetes or poor circulation are at higher risk for infections and foot ulcers, if they contract hammertoes. To prevent further complications, custom orthopedic shoes can be made. However, people with these conditions should see a doctor at the first sign of any foot trouble. There are two types of hammertoes:
- Flexible: If the toe still can be moved at the joint, it’s a flexible hammertoe. That’s good, because this is an earlier, milder form of the problem. There may be several treatment options.
- Rigid: If the tendons in the toe become rigid, they press the joint out of alignment. At this stage, the toe can’t be moved. It usually means that surgery is needed.