Hammertoes represent a serious condition of the toes. It usually appears in the three middle toes. It can affect one or all of the toes. The toes are forced in an unnatural fixed position, which causes them to be shaped like a hammer.
Causes of Hammertoes
- Tight Shoes - Most people get hammertoes from wearing shoes that are entirely too tight, or too narrow. Women are usually affected, because they wear high heels that put extra pressure on the toes, and are always too tight for the feet, and make them extremely uncomfortable.
- Broken Bones - If you have previously injured your toes by striking them against hard surfaces, or you have broken them, this can also lead to hammertoes.
- Diseases - Bunions, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory disorders can all cause your feet to bunch close together and cause hammertoes.
- Other Causes - If you injure your muscles, toe ligaments, tendons, or had nerve damage, this can also lead to hammertoes.
In less severe cases, your podiatrist will suggest that special pads are inserted to relieve the pressure on your toes. Your podiatrist could also suggest that you wear special shoes that are open ended, or ones that are big enough that they don't put direct pressure on your toes.
Another popular non-surgical approach is to try to physically straighten your crooked toes by physical therapy.
Surgery may be required if the condition is serious enough. For this reason, you should visit your podiatrist at the first sign of possible hammertoes, and don't wait until your toes are already deformed.
The simplest solution to hammertoes is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Give your toes room to move freely, and don't allow footwear to cripple your toes and your feet.