A hammertoe is a deformity in the foot that can be caused by some sort of imbalance of the
tendons, muscles, or ligaments that would normally help to keep the toe straight. It has a bend
in the toe that occurs in the middle joint. This bend resembles a hammer, hence the name. A
hammertoe will most commonly occur in your second, third, or fourth toe.
The main symptoms of hammertoe would be the abnormal bend in the toe and the possibility of
experiencing pain or difficulty when attempting to move the toe. This can further result in
calluses or corns on the toes next to it. There are a few factors that can cause or contribute to
hammertoes. The type of shoes you decide to wear has an impact on your toes and joints.
“High-heeled shoes or footwear that’s too tight in the toe box can crowd your toes into a space
in which they can’t lie flat. This curled toe position might eventually persist even when you’re
barefoot” (Mayo Clinic). A previous injury that came with some sort of trauma can also affect
hammertoes. This can include stubbing, jamming, or breaking your toe.
There are some risk factors that are also associated with hammertoes. The risk of hammertoes
increases with age and is found to be more common in women than in men. Another risk factor
that has to do with your feet would be the length of your second toe. If this toe is longer than
your big toe, you are more at risk for a hammertoe. Arthritis and diabetes can also increase your
risk for foot deformities.
As with many other foot issues, this can be prevented or avoided by simply wearing appropriate
shoes. This includes footwear that provides plenty of room so that the foot is not confined in a
tight shoe. It is also important for your shoes to be adjustable with laces or straps so that you
can give yourself more room if necessary.
If you are dealing with hammertoe, schedule an appointment with us today!