Borders Podiatry & Chiropody







Hammer Toes

A Hammertoe is a contracture (bending) of one or both joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth (little) toes. This abnormal bending can put pressure on the toe when wearing shoes, causing problems to develop.
A Hammertoe usually starts out as mild deformity and can get progressively worse over time. In the earlier stages, hammertoes are flexible and the symptoms can often be managed with noninvasive measures. But if left untreated, hammertoes can become more rigid and will not respond to non-surgical treatment.
Because of the progressive nature of hammertoes, they should receive early attention, from a HCPC registered podiatrist to try and minimalise deformity.

Unfortunately hammertoes never get better without some kind of intervention.
The most common cause of hammertoes is a muscle/tendon imbalance due to biomechanical abnormalities. This imbalance, leads to a bending of the toe, it results from mechanical (structural) changes in the foot that occur over time in some people. Hammertoes may be aggravated by shoes that don't fit properly. A hammertoe may result if a toe is too long and is forced into a cramped position when a tight shoe is worn. Stilettos are the most common culprit. Occasionally, hammertoes are the result of an earlier trauma to the toe, for example dropping a tin of baked beans on one. In some people, hammertoes are inherited.
Common symptoms of hammertoes include:
  • Pain or irritation of the affected toe when wearing shoes.
  • Corns and calluses (a buildup of skin) on the toe, between two toes, or on the ball of the foot. Corns are caused by constant friction against the shoe. They may be soft or hard, depending upon their location.
    Inflammation, redness, or a burning sensation.
  • Contracture of the toe.
  • In more severe cases of hammertoe, open sores may form.
Non-surgical Treatment
  • Padding corns and calluses. Your HCPC registered podiatrist can provide or make pads designed to shield corns from irritation.
  • Changes in shoewear. Avoid shoes with pointed toes, shoes that are too short, or shoes with high heels – conditions that can force your toe against the front of the shoe. Instead, choose comfortable shoes with a deep, roomy toe box and heels no higher than two inches.
  • Orthotic devices. A custom orthotic device placed in your shoe may help control the muscle/tendon or biomechanical imbalance.



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