What is Hammertoe?
Hammertoe is a bending of one or both joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes. This abnormal bending can cause pressure to be put on the toe or toes when wearing shoes, which can cause problems. Symptoms of hammertoe include:
- Pain or irritation on the affected toe/s when wearing shoes
- Corns (skin buildup) on the top, side, or end of the toe.
- Calluses on the bottom of the toe or on the ball of the foot
Hammertoes typically begin as mild deformities worsening over time. Because they can progress, hammertoes should be be evaluated as soon as possible to prevent them for getting worse.
What Causes Hammertoe?
The most common cause of hammertoe is a muscle or tendon imbalance caused by structural changes in the foot that occur over time in some patients. They are often made worse by poorly-fitting shoes, like those that crowd the toes. Improper shoes can even cause hammertoe, for example if a toe is forced into a shoe too short for it and forced into a cramped position.