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April 13, 2015: Do I have hammer toes and can they be treated?

At Maidenhead Podiatry, our Podiatrists are often asked – ‘Do I have hammer toes and can they be treated?’

A hammer toe is a toe that is bent or flexed at the middle joint in the toe and can lead to considerable pressure and pain.

The ligaments and tendons on the underside of the toe have tightened causing it to curl downwards.

Hammer toes may occur in any toe except the big toe (because the big toe only has one joint) and there is often discomfort on the top part of the toe due to rubbing against the shoe.

Hammer toes are classified according to the mobility of the joint, with two types – flexible and rigid.

With a flexible hammer toe, the joint can move and can be straightened manually.

With a rigid hammer toe movement is very limited and can be painful.

This can cause foot movement to become restricted leading to extra stress in the ball-of-the-foot, associated pain and the development of corns and calluses.

Hammer toes sometimes result from a muscle imbalance causing ligaments and tendons to become unnaturally tightly flexed resulting in the joint curling downward.

Arthritis may also contribute to many different forefoot deformities, including hammer toes.

Choice of footwear is important in the treatment of hammer toes.

When choosing a shoe, buy a lace-up, make sure the toe box (toe area) is high and broad to accommodate the hammer toes providing enough room in the forefoot area so that there is less friction against the toes.

Other conservative treatments include products designed to relieve hammer toes, such as toes props.

Gel toe shields and gel toe caps are also recommended to eliminate friction between the shoe and the toe, while providing comfort and lubrication.

If you would like more information or and appointment with one of our Podiatrists, call 01628 773588 or e-mail info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.