, Claw and Mallet Toe are similar conditions, all caused by
deformity of the toe joints. They usually develop slowly from wearing poor fitting shoes, but can also be due to muscle or nerve damage. Muscle imbalance causes the toes to bend into odd positions
which can be extremely painful, limiting walking and activity. They become more common with aging and affect approximately 10-15% of the population. Women are five times more likely to suffer from
hammer, claw or mallet toe than men.
Shoes that narrow toward the toe force the smaller toes into a bent upward position. This makes the toes rub against the inside of the shoe, and creates corns and calluses, aggravating the toes
further. If the shoes have a high heel, the feet are forced forward and down, squeezing the toes against the front of the shoe, which increases the pressure on the toes and makes them bend further.
Eventually, the toe muscles become unable to straighten the toe.
A hammertoe causes you discomfort when you walk. It can also cause you pain when trying to stretch or move the affected toe or those around it. Hammertoe symptoms may be mild or severe. Mild
Symptoms, a toe that is bent downward, corns or calluses. Severe Symptoms, difficulty walking, the inability to flex your foot or wiggle your toes, claw-like toes. See your doctor or podiatrist right
away if you develop any of these symptoms.
Your healthcare provider will examine your foot, checking for redness, swelling, corns, and calluses. Your provider will also measure the flexibility of your toes and test how much feeling you have
in your toes. You may have blood tests to check for arthritis, diabetes, and infection.
Non Surgical Treatment
Hammer toes may be effectively corrected hammertoes
in different ways. Treatments can be non-invasive
and involve physical therapy along with the advice that the person not wear any more shoes that restrict appropriate space for their toes. Appropriate shoes for people who want to avoid hammer toes,
or for people who already have them, should be at least half an inch longer than the person's longest toe. High-heeled shoes are something to definitely avoid.
Surgery to correct for a hammertoe may be performed as a day procedure. There are several different types of procedures that can be used depending on the foot structure and if the deformity is
flexible or rigid.