and mallet toe are two foot deformities that occur most often in
women who wear high heels or shoes with a narrow toe box. These types of footwear may force your toes against the front of the shoe, causing an unnatural bending. A hammertoe has an abnormal bend in
the middle joint of a toe. Mallet toe affects the joint nearest the toenail. Hammertoe and mallet toe are most likely to occur in the toe next to your big toe. Relieving the pain and pressure of
hammertoe and mallet toe may involve changing your footwear and wearing shoe inserts. If you have a more severe case of hammertoe or mallet toe, you may need surgery to experience relief.
Hammer toe is commonly caused by wearing shoes that are too narrow, tight or short on a regular basis. By doing so, your toe joints are forced into odd position. Over time, the tendons and muscles in
your toe become shorter and cause it to bend. You can suffer a hammer toe if you have diabetes and the disease is worsening. If this occurs, you should contact your doctor right away. Arthritis can
also cause hammer toes. Because your toe muscles get out of balance when you suffer from this joint disorder, tendons and joints of your toes are going to experience a lot of pressure.
A soft corn, or heloma molle, may exist in the web space between toes. This is more commonly caused by Hammer toe
an exostosis, which is basically an extra growth of bone possibly due to your
foot structure. As this outgrowth of excessive bone rubs against other toes, there is friction between the toes and a corn forms for your protection.
The exam may reveal a toe in which the near bone of the toe (proximal phalanx) is angled upward and the middle bone of the toe points in the opposite direction (plantar flexed). Toes may appear
crooked or rotated. The involved joint may be painful when moved, or stiff. There may be areas of thickened skin (corns or calluses) on top of or between the toes, a callus may also be observed at
the tip of the affected toe beneath the toenail. An attempt to passively correct the deformity will help elucidate the best treatment option as the examiner determines whether the toe is still
flexible or not. It is advisable to assess palpable pulses, since their presence is associated with a good prognosis for healing after surgery. X-rays will demonstrate the contractures of the
involved joints, as well as possible arthritic changes and bone enlargements (exostoses, spurs). X-rays of the involved foot are usually performed in a weight-bearing position.
Non Surgical Treatment
The most common treatment is to wear more comfortable shoes. When choosing a shoe, make sure the toe area is high and broad and has enough room for hammer toes. If there is chronic pain, surgery may
be needed to correct a malalignment. Surgical treatments are aimed at loosening up the contracted toe joints to allow them to align properly. Other types of treatment are products designed to relieve
hammer toes, such as hammer toe crests and hammer toe splints. These devices will help hold down the hammer toe and provide relief to the forefoot. Gel toe shields and gel toe caps can also be used.
Gel toe shields and toe caps will help eliminate friction between the shoe and the toe, while providing comfort and lubrication.
Surgical Options: Several surgical procedures are available to the podiatric physician. For less severe deformities, the surgery will remove the bony prominence and restore normal alignment of the
toe joint, thus relieving pain. Severe hammer toes, which are not fully reducible, may require more complex surgical procedures. Recuperation takes time, and some swelling and discomfort are common
for several weeks following surgery. Any pain, however, is easily managed with medications prescribed by your podiatrist.