is a Z-shaped deformity caused by dorsal subluxation at the metatarsophalangeal joint. Diagnosis is clinical. Treatment is
modification of footwear and/or orthotics. The usual cause is misalignment of the joint surfaces due to a genetic predisposition toward aberrant foot biomechanics and tendon contractures. RA and
neurologic disorders such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease are other causes.
It?s thought that hammertoe may develop from wearing shoes that are too narrow or too short. This probably explains why women are far more prone to the condition than men: almost 9 out of 10 women
wear shoes that are too small. Another cause is diabetes mellitus, which produces nerve damage in the feet that may lead to hammer toe.
The most common symptoms of hammertoes include. The toe is Hammer toes
bent upward at the middle toe joint, so that
the top of this joint rubs against the top of the shoe. The remainder of the toe is bent downward. 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. This occurs because the
contracted digit puts pressure on the metatarsal head creating callouse and pressure on the ball of the foot.
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
Non-surgical methods for hammer toes (claw toes) are aimed at decreasing symptoms (i.e., pain and/or calluses) and/or limiting the progression into a larger problem. Simple treatments patients can do
are wear supportive shoes. Use an arch support. Wear shoes with a wide toe box. Modify activities. Spot stretch shoes. Periodic callus care.
Treatment of a severe hammertoe that has become rigid includes surgery. What is done during the surgery depends on how misshapen and inflexible the toe is. The surgeon may make a cut over your toe
and release the tendon by cutting the tendon away from the bone. The surgeon may remove a small piece of bone from the toe. The surgeon may realign the tendons to reposition your toe or fasten the
bones with pins. Sometimes the surgeon may have to join the bones in the toe. In this case, you will no longer be able to bend the toe, but the toe will be flat.