What Is Hammer Toe?
Hammertoe is a bending of one or both joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth (little) toes. This abnormal bending can put pressure on the toe when wearing shoes, causing problems to develop.
Hammertoes usually start out as mild deformities and get progressively worse over time. In the earlier stages, hammertoes are flexible and the symptoms can often be managed with non-surgical measures. But if left untreated, hammertoes can become more rigid and will not respond to non-surgical treatment.
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.
The most common cause of hammertoe is a muscle/tendon imbalance. This imbalance, which leads to a bending of the toe, results from mechanical (structural) changes in the foot that occur over time in some people.
Hammertoes may be aggravated by shoes that don’t fit properly. A hammertoe may result if a toe is too long and is forced into a cramped position when a tight shoe is worn. Occasionally, hammertoe is the result of an earlier trauma to the toe. In some people, hammertoes are inherited.
Ozan will obtain a thorough history and physical examination of your foot. During the physical examination, Ozan will evaluate the cause and extent of the contracture of the toes and will correlate the finding s with x- rays.
When Is Surgery Needed?
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, Ozan 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.