People of all ages can have toe problems, from infants born with defects, to adults with acquired disabilities. Leading cause of disability in adults is foot tendon imbalance. The tendons may stretch or tighten to compensate for imbalance of foot deformity causes the toe (s). So, people with abnormally long legs, flat feet or high arches have a greater tendency to develop foot deformities. Over time, the toes can become permanently disabled and arthritic changes can develop. The most common digital defects are hammertoes, claw toes, mallet toes, bone spurs, and underlapping overlapping toes, and toes curled. These defects can lead to corn or calluses and inflammation of small pouches in the joint protection defects cause pain and swelling. Pain may or may not be present.

Definition Of Hammer Toe

Hammertoe is a condition in which the toe is bent in a clawlike position. It can be present in more than one leg but are most common in the second toe.

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Hammer Toe – Mallet Toe (Toe Deformity)

Description Of Hammer Toe

Hammertoe is described as a disorder in which the toes bend down the leg joints are usually enlarged. Over time, such as stiff joints and enlargement rubs against shoes. Other foot structures involved include the overlying skin and blood vessels and nerves that connect to the toes involved.

Causes and symptoms

Shortening of the tendon that is responsible for the control and movement of the toes or feet are exposed to cause hammertoes. The top of the toes become callused from the resulting friction against the inside of the shoe. Common foot problems are often the result of a proper fit footwear. This is especially the case with high-heeled shoes put pressure on the front of the leg which compresses the toes smaller tightly. This condition is often derived from muscle imbalance, and usually leave affected individuals with balance disorders.


A thorough health history and physical examination by a physician is always necessary for the proper diagnosis of hammertoes and other foot conditions. Because the condition involves bone deformity, x-rays can help to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment for Toe Deformity

  • Conservative: Wearing proper footwear and socks with plenty of room in the toe area can provide treatment for hammertoe. Stretching exercises can help in extending a very tight tendons.
  • Surgery: In advanced cases, where conservative treatment is not successful, surgery may be recommended. Tendon attached to the toes are involved and an incision is made to free the connective tissue in the leg bone. Additional incision is made so that the toes no longer bend in a downward fashion. Middle joints of the toes affected permanently connected together with surgical hardware such as pins and wire stitching. The incision is then closed with fine sutures. These stitches are removed about seven to ten days after surgery.


If detected early, hammertoe can be treated non-surgically. If surgery becomes necessary, with minimal surgical risk overall results give good results.


Wear comfortable shoes that fit well can prevent many foot diseases. Foot width may increase with age. Feet should always be measured before buying shoes. The top of the shoe should be made of soft and flexible material to match the shape of the foot. Shoes made of leather can reduce the possibility of skin irritation. Soles should provide solid footing and not be slippery. Thick soles lessen pressure when walking on hard surfaces. Low-heeled shoes are more comfortable, safer, and less damaging than high-heeled shoes.

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