Hammertoe is a painful deformity where your toes flex abnormally. Hammertoe can develop on all of the toes, but typically affects the center three and, most often the second toe.
When unusual stresses are applied over a period of years, the joints and tendons of your toes cease to function in a balanced manner and in an effort to compensate; your toes can begin to bend into the hammertoe shape.
Causes of hammertoe can include:
1. Pressing into a too-small or ill-fitting shoe or wearing high heels that jam your toes into a tight toe box.
2. An injury such as badly stubbing your toe.
4. Nerve and muscle damage from diseases such as diabetes.
The most obvious sign of hammertoes are bent toes, however other symptoms may include:
1. Pain and stiffness during movement of the toe.
2. Painful corns on the tops of the toe or toes from rubbing against the top of the shoe's toe box.
3. Painful calluses on the bottoms of the toe or toes.
4. Pain on the bottom of the ball of the foot.
5. Redness and swelling at the joints.
Prevention is better than cure!
As long as Hammertoes aren’t causing pain or changes in you’re walking or running gait, they probably aren’t harmful and doesn't require treatment.
When to see a Podiatrist?
The Hammertoe condition is almost always irreversible, but often its progression can be reduced or suspended. You should visit a Podiatrist if your toes become painful and you have difficulty walking.