Hammer Toe Management... Where To Find The Latest Treatment Information.

What Is A Hammer Toe?

A toe which curls over or is flexed at the proximal (middle) toe joint of the smaller toes.

This problem may be either flexible or rigid based on the movement available at the affected joint.

What Causes A Hammer Toe?

There are a number of causes. These may include:

  • Bone and muscle imbalances due to incorrect foot posture often allows development to occur. This may be excessive pronation (roll-in) or excessive supination (roll-out) which causes muscular and/or bone imbalance.

  • Arthritis can also give rise to hammer toe development; or

  • Prolonged use of incorrect or poorly fitting footwear may also contribute to the deformation of toes.

    How Are Hammer Toes Prevented?

    Preventing their development means controlling bone and muscle imbalances due to malalignment. This is usually carried out using a specific combination of exercises, mobilisation, orthotic shoe inserts and occasionally hammer toe splints are used.

    How Are Hammer Toes Treated?

    Initially, the hammer toe treatment will involve:

  • Review of footwear;
    This will include the use of a shoes with a broad or deep toe box and various types of useful toe supports including:

  • hammer toe crests or toe bolster supports;

  • toe caps lined with gel can help where skin irritation or corns occur; or

  • Orthoses or orthotic shoe inserts to control the causative factor, namely the abnormal foot alignment, should be used when needed.

    What happens if hammer toes are left untreated?
    Hammer toes can cause abnormal pressure and skin irritation. Calluses and corns can result and in serious cases ulceration or infection may occur. Early treatment can lead to successful results without hammer toe surgery if you have a flexible hammer toe deformity. If your hammer toe is rigid then the only real effective cure is usually hammer toe surgery.

    If you need further assistance, consult your podiatrist, chiropodist or foot doctor.

    WARNING : This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional podiatric advice. Treatment will vary between individuals depending upon your diagnosis and presenting complaint. An accurate diagnosis can only be made following personal consultation with a Podiatrist, your Doctor or your foot specialist.

    Still have a question about your foot problem, leg pain or you just need some footwear advice?

    Visit our Foot Problems page and ask us a question about your specific problem. We'll do our best to help.

    To find a Podiatrist or Foot Doctor near you visit our Find a Podiatrist page and click on your country.

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