A hammertoe is a condition in which the toe joints bend and become permanently flexed, resembling a hammer. Learn about the causes, treatments, shoe/insert accommodations, and recommended shoe styles for hammertoes.
A hammertoe is a type of toe deformity that occurs when the toe joints bend and become permanently flexed, resembling a hammer. The middle joint of the toe is bent upwards, while the other joints are straight. This can cause pain, difficulty walking, and skin problems. Hammertoes can cause a number of problems, including:
- Pain: Hammertoes can be painful, especially when wearing shoes.
- Swelling: Hammertoes can cause swelling in the toes and feet.
- Ingrown toenails: Hammertoes can increase the risk of ingrown toenails.<
- Deformity: Hammertoes can become more and more deformed over time, making it difficult to wear shoes.
Hammertoes are a common foot deformity that can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Genetics: Hammertoes can run in families, suggesting that there is a genetic component to their development.
- Footwear: Wearing shoes that are too narrow or have a pointed toe can put stress on the toe joints and contribute to the development of hammertoes.
- Occupational factors: People who stand for long periods of time or who walk for long distances are more likely to develop hammertoes.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: This autoimmune disease can cause inflammation and joint damage, which can increase the risk of developing hammertoes.
Here are some of the symptoms of hammertoes:
- Pain: Hammertoes can cause pain in the toes, especially when walking or standing for long periods of time.
- Difficulty walking: Hammertoes can make it difficult to walk, especially if the toes are severely bent.
- Skin problems: Hammertoes can cause skin problems, such as calluses, corns, and blisters.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of hammertoes, it is important to see a doctor to rule out any other underlying conditions.
There are a number of treatments for hammertoes, including:
- Non-surgical treatment. Non-surgical treatments for hammertoes include:
- Stretching and strengthening exercises: Stretching and strengthening exercises can help to improve the flexibility and strength of the muscles and tendons in the foot, which can help to prevent further deformity.
The best treatment for hammertoes will depend on the severity of the deformity and the patient's individual needs. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort due to hammertoes, see your doctor to discuss the best treatment options for you.
- Wide toe box: Shoes with a wide toe box will allow your toes to spread out and prevent them from rubbing against each other. All of our diabetic shoes are manufactured with a wide toe box to allow space for toes to move freely.
- Soft, flexible uppers: Shoes with soft, flexible uppers will allow your toes to move naturally and prevent them from getting pinched.
- Low heels: Shoes with low heels will reduce stress on your toes and feet.
- Cushioned insoles: Cushioned insoles can help to absorb shock and reduce pain.
- Toe spacers: Toe spacers can help to keep your toes in a straight position and relieve pain.
- Offload Distals: Offloading of areas of increased pressure is paramount to ulcer prevention and healing.
- Sulcus length: The sulcus length of an orthotic is the length of the orthotic that extends under the ball of the foot and ends just before the toes. This can be beneficial for individuals needing additional comfort due to increased pressure. This helps distribute pressure and weight more evenly across the foot.
If you are unsure about whether or not your symptoms require medical attention, please consult your foot doctor.