ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Hammertoes - Causes And Cures

Updated on February 15, 2011

Hammertoes are about about as pleasant as they sound.  The worst part about this annoying foot condition is that it sneaks up on you...  By the time you know you have a hammertoe, it's often too late to prevent the painful symptoms.  In this article, we'll take a comprehensive look at this condition.  After reading the piece below, you'll have the knowledge and tools to prevent and treat hammertoes.

What Is A Hammertoe?


A hammertoe is a specific type of deformity that affects the toe.  The deformed toe appears curled - leading to the larger of the two toe knuckles pushing up.  It looks somewhat like the little hammers that are found inside of a piano.  This condition is usually caused by two things:  A dropped metatarsal head and a tightening of the tendons in the affected toe.  As the knobby head of the metatarsal bone drops and the tendons around it tighten, the knuckle inevitably rises.  More often than not, the middle toes are prone to this kind of injury.  A rarer condition, known as mallet toe, sees the smaller of the two knuckles rise.

Causes Of Hammertoes


So what actually causes the conditions that lead to hammertoes?  While injuries sometimes play a role, hammertoes are usually hereditary.  Like many common foot problems, faulty biomechanics are often to blame for this.  Exceptionally high arches that don't pronate enough or a long second toe often contribute to the development of a hammertoe.

This problem is made worse when inappropriate footwear is worn.  Hammertoes develop slowly, you see.  The pain really ramps up when the knuckle rises high enough to hit the inside of your shoe.  If you can stop the problem before it gets this bad, you'll stop a lot of the pain as well.  Choose a pair of shoes that aren't too small.  Also, look for something with a lot of toe room.

Hammertoes And Pain

The deformed toe in and of itself isn't actually that painful.  It's the conditions that the hammertoe causes that hurt like hell.  The most common ones people deal with are corns and calluses.  These are a direct result of the fact that your knuckle is now rubbing against the roof of your shoe.  Both corns and calluses are signs that your skin is trying to protect itself from the persistent friction between itself and the shoe.

A more serious side effect of hammertoes is related to gait.  Gait essentially refers to the way one walks.  Hammertoes have a way of changing the way a person walks.  This can lead to all sorts of unpleasant problems with the lower legs and back.

Treating Hammertoes


Getting rid of hammertoes isn't easy.  Fortunately, it's not always necessary to do so.  If you catch the problem before it gets too serious, changing footwear can often be enough to avoid the pain mentioned above.  Again, look for something that fits!  Small toe boxes and narrow shoe bodies aren't a good idea if you're trying to keep your feet healthy.  You can also try using a toe straightener to fix the crooked toe.  The best ones are made by Pedifix.  They're like $5 each so you really have nothing to lose.

If the simple hammertoe home remedies outlined above don't work, you'll need to consider surgery.  Known as a tenotomy, this procedure is performed by both podiatrists and orthopedic surgeons.  It basically involves lengthening the tightened tendons responsible for the curled toe.  Uncurling the toes allows them to rest flat.  In more severe cases, bits of bone may also need to be chipped away in order to see the toe uncurled.

After successful treatment, steps need to be taken to prevent the hammertoe from returning.  This often means a set of orthotic inserts should be used.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)