Toe deformities are a common complaint among many people. Hammer and claw toes are two types of toe deformities that can cause pain and discomfort when walking or wearing shoes. Claw toes are toes that are bent down at the middle joint and bent up at the end. Hammer toes are similar, but the difference is that they only bend up at the end.
Hammertoe is a deformity that can occur in the second, third, or fourth toes. It happens due to an imbalance in the muscles around the toe joint, which leads to the toe bending downward. Hammertoe can be hereditary or develop due to wearing tight shoes or high heels. We will discuss the causes and symptoms of hammertoe, as well as treatment options.
How Does Hammer Toe Occur?
Your toes are made up of several small bones and muscles that can move in various directions. A hammer toe occurs when the middle joint of a toe becomes bent due to an imbalance in the muscle and tendons on either side of the joint, which forces it into an abnormal position.
This condition can be caused by wearing shoes that are too tight, not having enough room for your toes to move freely or an injury to the toe.
Arthritis can also cause hammer toe as it causes swelling in the joint, which can change the average balance of muscles and tendons around the affected joint.
Symptoms of Hammer Toes
Hammer toes are painful foot deformity that affects the toes. Symptoms of a hammer toe include:
1) Difficulty bending the toe.
2) Pain and discomfort when wearing shoes.
3) Corns or calluses on the top of the toe’s middle joint.
4) Toe joints contracted into an abnormal position, resulting in a hammer shape.
5) Inflammation, redness, and tenderness in the affected area.
How Can Genetics Impact Hammer Toe?
Heredity can play a role in a hammer toe. Certain hereditary conditions, such as neuromuscular or connective tissue disorders, can lead to this deformity. Additionally, people with abnormally flat feet and those with inherited foot structures that put them at risk for developing the condition are more likely to develop hammer toe.
People with certain genetic muscle conditions, such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, tend to have high arches and weakened muscles in the foot region that can develop a hammer toe deformity.
Also, individuals who have inherited the tendency to develop calluses or bunions due to excessive pronation are more prone to developing a hammer toe.
Tips To Prevent Hammer Toe
Though hammertoe is often hereditary, there are steps you can take to help prevent it from developing. Here are some tips:
• Wear shoes that fit correctly and provide enough room for your toes to move freely. Avoid wearing tight or pointy-toed shoes, which can pressure your toes and lead to a hammer toe.
• Don’t wear high heels for long periods. Choose shoes with low heels or flats, which provide more room for the toes to move.
• Exercise regularly and stretch your feet, ankles, and calves. This will help keep the muscles in your feet solid and flexible, reducing the chances of hammertoe.
• If you already have a hammer toe, wear orthotic shoe inserts to help support your feet and reduce pressure on your toes. Orthotics can be used to correct the deformity caused by hammertoe.
Call the Advanced Foot and Ankle Institute of Georgia for Marietta’s best hammer toe treatment. Our podiatrists are certified to diagnose and treat hammer toe conditions.