Hammers toes are a common but painful foot deformity which affects toes. They are usually caused by a combination of genetics, muscular imbalances, and misalignment of bones and joints in feet.
Hammers toes cause toes to become bent such that toes’ tops touch ground while tips of toes are raised up. It can also cause toes to become stiff and inflexible, making it difficult to move them or fit them into shoes. The affected toe may also be painful when pressed.
People with hammer toes often suffer from corns and calluses on top of toes or bottoms of feet due to constant rubbing of toes against shoe. As deformity progresses, toes may curl up even more and make it difficult to walk comfortably.
The most common form of hammer toes is flexor Hallucis longus toe, which affects second toe and is caused by an imbalance in muscles that control toe. It is usually linked to tightness in Achilles tendon and calf muscles.
The second type of hammer toes are referred to as extensor Hallucis longus toes and they affect big toe. This type is often caused by tightness in tendons in foot that lead to big toe.
In some cases, deformity may be caused by an underlying medical condition such as arthritis, diabetes, or neurologic disorders. It can also be caused by trauma, such as an injury to foot or toes.
If you think you may have Hammer toes, it is important to get condition evaluated by a doctor. Treatment for hammer toes may include orthotics (special shoes and shoe inserts), taping or padding, physical therapy exercises to improve flexibility, a customized shoe, or in some cases, surgical intervention.
Left untreated, hammer toes can cause discomfort, pain, and difficulty walking. If you are experiencing any of these issues, it’s important to see a doctor to get proper diagnosis and treatment to ensure your overall foot health.