is most common in women, and a big part of this
is poor shoe choices, which are a big factor in the development of many foot problems. Tight toe boxes and high heels are the biggest culprits. Genetics certainly plays a role in some cases of
hammertoes, as does trauma, infection, arthritis, and certain neurological and muscle disorders. Most cases of contracted toes are associated with various biomechanical abnormalities in how a patient
walks. This causes the muscles and tendons to be used excessively or improperly, which deforms the toes over time.
Poorly fitting shoes and muscle imbalances are the most common causes of hammertoe. When shoes are too narrow or do not accommodate the shape and size of your feet, they often contort the position of
your toes. Choosing a shoe that fits is very important when it comes to avoiding foot problems like bunions or hammertoe. Having your toes bent for an extended period of time in a shoe that is too
narrow or small forces your toes to adapt to the cramped space. With time, the muscles in your feet become accustomed to holding the flexed position of your toes, making it harder, or even impossible
to straighten them.
Hammer toes can cause problems with walking and lead to other foot problems, such hammertoe
as blisters, calluses, and sores. Pain is caused by constant friction over the top of
the toe?s main joint. It may be difficult to fit into some shoe gear due to the extra space required for the deformed toe. In many cases there will be pain on the ball of the foot over the
metatarsals along with callus formation. This is due to the toes not functioning properly, failing to properly touch the ground during the gait cycle. The ball of the foot then takes the brunt of the
ground forces, which causes chronic pain.
Hammertoes are progressive, they don?t go away by themselves and usually they will get worse over time. However, not all cases are alike, some hammertoes progress more rapidly than others. Once your
foot and ankle surgeon has evaluated your hammertoes, a treatment plan can be developed that is suited to your needs.
Non Surgical Treatment
Conservative treatment is limited to accommodation, not correction, of the deformity, though some patients find the relief they can get from these options to be more than enough to put off or even
avoid surgery. These include better Footwear. Shoe gear with a wider toe box and higher volume causes less friction to the toes. Toe Braces and Strapping. Some toe braces and strapping techniques
take some pressure off the toes during gait. Custom molded orthotics can redistribute the forces through the tendons that control the toe, lessening the pain and extent of the deformity.The calluses
on the toe and the ball of the foot can be shaved occasionally to reduce some pain and pressure, although they will return due to the constant deformity.
If conservative treatments don't help, your doctor may recommend surgery to release the tendon that's preventing your toe from lying flat. In some cases, your doctor might also remove some pieces of
bone to straighten your toe.
elect and wear the right shoe for specific activities (such as running shoes for running). Alternate shoes. Don't wear the same pair of shoes every day. Avoid walking barefoot, which increases the
risk for injury and infection. At the beach or when wearing sandals, always use sunblock on your feet, as you would on the rest of your body. Be cautious when using home remedies for foot ailments.
Self-treatment can often turn a minor problem into a major one. It is critical that people with diabetes see a podiatric physician at least once a year for a checkup. People with diabetes, poor
circulation, or heart problems should not treat their own feet, including toenails, because they are more prone to infection.