Hammer Toes

Hammer toes are also sometimes referred to as a claw toe or mallet toe. A hammer toe deformity is usually caused by an imbalance in the pull of the tendons that help to keep the toes straight. Either the tendon on top of the toe pulls harder or the tendon on the bottom of the toe pulls harder. This tendon imbalance results in a curling up of the toe as shown in the picture shown on the right.
Shoes with a shallow toe box will will cause rubbing on the top of hammer toe causing a corn. The hammer toe deformity will tend to push down on the metatarsal head causing internal pressure. This will result in the skin on the bottom of the foot getting sandwiched between the bone and ground/shoe causing a callus formation. This can result in pain in the ball of the foot or metatarsalgia.

Treatment for hammer toes included:

  • Shoes with deep toe box will reduce the pressure on the top of the hammer toe.

  • If the hammer toes are not fixed in their crooked position, there are exercises to strengthen the small muscles of the foot that help to keep the toes straight.

  • Fabrication of a silicone toe crest that stabiles the lesser toes during the heel lift phase of gait

  • Surgery can be performed to straighten the toe.