Hammertoe is when there is an abnormal type of bend in the middle finger of the toes. It is sort of curled due to a bend in the middle joint. Hammertoe and mallet toe are foot abnormalities caused by an imbalance in the muscles and ligaments that keep the toe straight and in the right position. The shoes you wear, your foot structure, trauma, and some of the reasons which can play a role in the development of these abnormalities.
Below are some signs and symptoms of hammertoe:
- Inability to move or bend the toes
- Reduced flexibility in the toe joint
- Excruciating pain in the ball of the foot
- Corns and calluses
- Redness, inflammation in the affected area
- Swollen joints
The following conditions have been associated with hammertoe and mallet toe:
- Trauma or injury, when you stub, jam, or break a toe, you’re more prone to acquiring hammertoe
- High heels or certain types of footwear like narrow toe boxes, in a v shape, can affect and suffocate your toes
- Instability of toe muscles
- Age is one the most common risk factor for hammer toe, as your muscles and bones start to wear out
- Women are at a much higher risk than men, one known reason for this could be the type of heels women wear every now and then
- Length of the toes, if your second toes are longer than your big toe it is more likely that you might have a hammertoe
- People suffering from diabetics and arthritis
If you are having severe pain in your toes, visiting the doctor might help. The doctor would be able to diagnose hammertoe or mallet toe just by examining the foot. The healthcare provider might suggest an X-ray to better assess the severity of the hammertoe.
Once the cause of the hammertoe has been diagnosed the doctor will further recommend certain treatment methods to help relieve the pain.
- Wear comfortable shoes, shoes that provide cushion-like comfort and do not put a strain on your toes
- Avoid wearing heels, wear footwear that has wide box type space while wearing the shoe
- Apply an ice pack to reduce the swelling
- Wear loose-fitting shoes
- Reduce the pressure by applying an over-the-counter ointment or cream