What is a Hammertoe?
A hammertoe is a deformity of the second, third or fourth toes. In this condition, the toe is bent at the middle joint, resembling a hammer. Left untreated, hammertoes can become inflexible and require surgery. People with hammertoes may have corns or calluses on the top of the middle joint of the toe or on the tip of the toe. They may also feel pain in their toes or feet and have difficulty finding comfortable shoes.
Causes of a hammertoe include improperly fitting shoes and muscle imbalance. A serious injury to the area or toe could cause a hammertoe to form. In addition, bunions commonly cause hammertoes from the pressure the bone puts on the toes.
Treatment for the condition typically involves shoes with soft, roomy toe boxes and toe exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles. Commercially available straps, cushions or non-medicated corn pads may also relieve symptoms. For permanent relief of hammertoes, surgery is a great option.