Hammer toes are contractions of the toe joints that causes a permanently bent or flexed position in the toe. This deformity often causes pain when wearing closed toe shoes when the bent toe begins to rub against the top of the shoe. The friction can cause a corn to develop.
What causes hammer toes?
Several different things can cause hammer toes:
- Predisposing structural or biomechanical factors (Basically genetic factors)
- Inflammatory conditions or arthritis
- General ligamentous laxity which means loose ligaments
- Mechanical factors such as shoes
How are hammer toes treated?
. Early treatment focuses on conservative methods such as converting from a pointed-toe low toe box shoe to wider, high toe box shoes that can alleviate the pressure.
Other non-surgical treatment options include:
- Custom orthoses to stabilize the deformity.
- Changes in activities: Try to avoid those things which cause symptoms.
- Shoe gear modification: Using wider shoes with larger toe box.
- Anti-inflammatory medication for periodic relief.
- Physical therapy to calm the inflammatory process.
How is surgery performed?
Surgery can become necessary if conservative measures fail to control the symptoms. Hammer toe surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure, under monitored IV anesthesia. A variety of factors will determine the specific type of surgery necessary. These factors include the patient’s age, weight, bone quality, and severity of deformity. The main goal of hammer toe surgery is to relieve the pain associated with the deformity. There are many surgical procedures to correct deformities from hammer toes. A typical surgery aims to remove the hammertoe, to realign the bones that make up the toe, and to balance the forces so the deformity does not return.. Many hammer toe surgeries require three to four weeks in a post-operative boot or shoe.