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Hammer Toes

What Are Hammertoes?

A hammertoe occurs from a muscle and ligament imbalance around the toe joint. This causes the middle joint of the toe to bend and become unmoveable in this position.Rubbing and irritation on the top of a bent toe is the more common complaint with hammertoes.

Hammertoes can also be toes that curl rather than buckle.

Understanding Hammertoes

Any toe can be affected. Women to experience hammertoes than men primarily due to their shoe selections.

People with diabetes or poor circulation should be especially careful. With these conditions you should check with your doctor immediately with the first sign of foot trouble.

There are two types of hammertoes:

  • Flexible hammertoes. If the toe still can be moved at the joint, it’s a flexible hammertoe. This is generally a more mild form of hammertoe.
  • Rigid hammertoes. If the tendons in the toe become rigid, they press the joint out of alignment. The toe is usually frozen and surgery is often required to resolve this issue.

What Causes Hammertoes?

The muscles of each toe work together. When the toe muscles get out of alignment, a hammertoe can form. This imbalance puts a lot of pressure on the toe’s tendons and joints. This pressure forces the toe into a hammerhead type shape.

How do the toe muscles get out of balance? There are three main reasons:

  • Genes: You may have inherited a tendency to develop hammertoes because your feet are somewhat unstable — they may be flat or have a high arch.
  • Arthritis condition
  • Injury to the toe:  If shoes fit too tight, are  too short, or  pointy, they push the toes out of alignment and balance. Pointy, the higher the heel the more this occurs.