Hammer Toe


Everything you need to know about a hammer toe

A hammer toe is pathology of the 2nd (less often 3rd and 4th) toe making the toe bend downward to look like "a hammer". This pathology is always a consequence of a complex deformation of the foot. A hammer toe forms due to an imbalance in the surrounding muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally keep the toe straight. In this case, osteoarthritis develops. Calluses typically develop under a metatarsal head as well as on the back of the toe. This is due to the fact that the deformed toe begins to undergo a lot of friction on the part of the shoe. Such toes deformity leads to the pain. Most often, pain occurs when walking and intensifies when trying to become on the toes. The condition can be extremely painful but there are many treatments available to relieve the pain.


The main cause is the prevailing tension of the flexion ligaments and a decrease in mobility in the interphalangeal joints of the toes. They start fixing in a constant flexion position. Most often, the hammer toes are often caused by a concomitant disease of such pathologies as transverse flat foot, hallux valgus deformity, cerebral palsy, hollow foot, arthritis or diabetes, poliomyelitis, etc.


In the early stages of the disease, toes deformity can be corrected by conservative methods including special orthopedic insoles or shoes wearing. Massage and therapeutic gymnastics are prescribed to strengthen the arch of the foot. In later stages of the disease, conservative treatment is ineffective. Therefore, minimally invasive procedures like surgeries are indicated (symptomatic or radical).


The main prevention strategy is the timely detection and treatment of transverse flat foot and valgus foot deformity (bunion). It is also necessary to give preference to comfortable shoes to avoid a hammer toy.

Illinois Foot & Ankle Clinic is located in Des Plaines, IL, which is a 15-minute drive from downtown Chicago and only 5 minutes from Mt Prospect, Park Ridge, Niles, Arlington Heights, Norridge, Elk Grove Village, Prospect Heights, and Glenview.

Illinois Foot & Ankle Clinic
1400 Golf Rd, Suite 201
Des Plaines , IL 60016
Phone: 847-250-1732
Fax: 844-965-9040
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