and mallet toe are two foot deformities that occur most often in women who wear
high heels or shoes with a narrow toe box. These types of footwear may force your toes against the front of the shoe, causing an unnatural bending. A hammertoe has an abnormal bend in the middle
joint of a toe. Mallet toe affects the joint nearest the toenail. Hammertoe and mallet toe are most likely to occur in the toe next to your big toe. Relieving the pain and pressure of hammertoe and
mallet toe may involve changing your footwear and wearing shoe inserts. If you have a more severe case of hammertoe or mallet toe, you may need surgery to experience relief.
While there are a number of causes, there aren't many specific risk factors for hammertoes, women tend to get these problems more than men, but they occur without rhyme or reason. Diabetics, however,
are more likely to get a hammertoe if they have underlying nerve damage in the toes and feet.
Symptoms of a hammertoe are usually first noticed as a corn on the top of the toe or at the tip which produces pain with walking or wearing tight shoes. Most people feel a corn is due to a skin
problem on their toes, which in fact, it is protecting the underlying bone deformity. A corn on the toe is sometimes referred to as a heloma dura or heloma durum, meaning hard corn. This is most
common at the level of the affected joint due to continuous friction of the deformity against your shoes.
The exam may reveal a toe in which the near bone of the toe (proximal phalanx) is angled upward and the middle bone of the toe points in the opposite direction (plantar flexed). Toes may appear
crooked or rotated. The involved joint may be painful when moved, or stiff. There may be areas of thickened skin (corns or calluses) on top of or between the toes, a callus may also be observed at
the tip of the affected toe beneath the toenail. An attempt to passively correct the deformity will help elucidate the best treatment option as the examiner determines whether the toe is still
flexible or not. It is advisable to assess palpable pulses, since their presence is associated with a good prognosis for healing after surgery. X-rays will demonstrate the contractures of the
involved joints, as well as possible arthritic changes and bone enlargements (exostoses, spurs). X-rays of the involved foot are usually performed in a weight-bearing position.
Non Surgical Treatment
Your podiatrist may recommend conservative treatment techniques for your hammertoes based on your foot structure, which will likely involve removing any thick, painful skin, padding your painful
area, and recommending for you shoes that give your curled toes adequate room. Conservative care strategies for this health purpose may also involve the hammertoes
use of Correct Toes, our toe straightening and toe spacing
In some cases, usually when the hammertoe has become more rigid and painful, or when an open sore has developed, surgery is needed. Often patients with hammertoe have bunions or other foot
deformities corrected at the same time. In selecting the procedure or combination of procedures for your particular case, the foot and ankle surgeon will take into consideration the extent of your
deformity, the number of toes involved, your age, your activity level, and other factors. The length of the recovery period will vary, depending on the procedure or procedures performed.