Hammer Toe: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Hammer toe also referred to as Claw Toe is the toe with an inappropriate shape. The toe next to the big toe is the most affected one. This deformity most commonly affects the women wearing high heeled shoes or shoes with narrow toe box.
What do we mean by Hammer Toe?
Hammer Toe is a condition where a bend develops at the joint between the first and second segment of one or more small toes and as a result of which the tip of the toe bends downwards giving it a hammer or claw like shape. Due to the joints of the toe bulging out, the person may have trouble walking. It can turn out to be more serious in the persons with diabetes and poor circulation.
What are the potential causes of Hammer Toe?
Each toe’s muscles work in pairs and whenever there is a muscular imbalance; pressure on the joints and tendons of toe increases and thus toe assumes a hammer head shape. This muscular imbalance occurs due to the following reasons:
- Poor or ill-fitted shoes including too tight, too short, too pointy and high heeled shoes
- Foot Structure problem since birth
- Poor blood flow to foot
- Peripheral Neuropathy (having little or no feeling) in case of diabetic patients
- Injury to toes
- Genes also contribute towards developing this condition like flat foot or high arched foot
- Tight foot ligaments or tendons
- Spinal cord or peripheral nerve damage
What are the signs and symptoms of Hammer Toe?
Hammer Toe causes you pain and discomfort while walking. Its symptoms may include:
- A downward bent toe
- Callus on the sole and corn on the toe of the foot
- Inability to flex your foot or wiggle your toes
- Pain while putting a shoe
- Swelled and red colored toe joint
- Pain on the ball of the foot
- Cramping in a toe
What are the treatment options available to treat Hammer Toe?
Treatments are advised according to the severity of your condition. Following treatment options are suggested to treat hammer Toe:
- Therapists may advice to wear customized toe pads or insoles in your shoes to relieve pain
- Customized cushions and pads are prescribed to treat bunions and corns
- Gentle Stretching exercises and Massaging may be recommended to relieve pain and as well to re-position the affected toe.
- Ice packs are applied to treat painful swelling
- Exercises are prescribed to restore muscular imbalance
- Foot exercises are recommended to relax tight foot tendons
- Manipulation and Splinting of the affected toe is prescribed
- Exercises to stretch and strengthen the toe muscles are prescribed
Contact Active Physical Therapy for the customized treatment of any of your musculoskeletal deformities and pathologies. Our skilful and dexterous therapists craft out well coordinated and personalized treatment modules to help you to return to your normal activities as early as possible.