What Are Hammer Toes?
A hammer toe occurs when the muscles and ligaments around your toe joint are out of balance. This causes the middle joint of your toe to buckle or curl and become stuck in that position.
There are two types of hammer toes:
- Flexible hammer toes. If you can still move your toe at the joint, you may have a flexible hammer toe.
- Rigid hammer toes. If you cannot move your toe at the joint, you may have a rigid hammer toe.
Hammer Toe Symptoms
The main symptom of a hammer toe is a toe or toes that look bent upward in the middle. Because of this, you may also have:
- Blisters, corns and/or calluses from where your toes rub against the top of your shoes
- Pain and/or swelling in your toe joint where it meets your foot
- Pain when you walk
- Stiffness in your toes that gets worse over time
Hammer Toe Causes and Risk Factors
- Shoes that don’t fit well: if your shoes are too tight, too short or too pointy, they can push your toes out of balance
- Charcot-Tooth-Marie disease: a disorder that damages the nerves in your arms and legs
- Feet that rotate inward when you walk
Your risk of getting hammer toes goes up with:
- Flat feet
- High arches
- Genetics: You may have inherited conditions or features that make you more likely to develop a hammer toe
- Long toe bones: If your second toe is longer than your first toe, you may be at a higher risk of developing a hammer toe.
Hammer toes can be more serious in people with diabetes or poor circulation because they are at a higher risk of developing infections and foot ulcers. Properly fitted orthopedic shoes from Elio’s Foot Comfort Centre may help to prevent these complications.
Hammer Toe Treatments
To relieve some of the symptoms of a hammer toe, the staff at Elio’s Foot Comfort Centre may suggest:
- Properly fitted orthopedic footwear or custom-made orthopedic footwear
- Exercises that help to stretch and strengthen your toes
- Toe splints
- Custom made orthotics
- Chiropody services
*Information taken from webmd.com