Perhaps you have been told by your podiatrist that you have hammer toe or perhaps you simple have pain and deformity in your toes and wonder if hammer toe is your problem. Hammer toe is very simple to diagnose as it is simply an abnormal bend in the middle joint of your toe cause by a muscle imbalance between the tendons on your toe. There are two different types of hammer toe and how they will be treated will depend greatly on which type of hammer toe you have and what the cause of your hammer toe is. There are three basic causes of hammertoe, the first two you cannot really do anything about, the third is preventable and most of the time curable without needing surgery. Hammertoe can be cause by genetics, usually in this case a secondary cause is usually apparent that may affect how severe your Hammertoe is and how easy it will be to correct. Arthritis is another cause of Hammer toe and this one can be one of the more difficult ones to correct.
The final and most common cause of hammer toe is wearing shoes that do not fit properly. This is often seen in women that wear high heels or in people who wear shoes that are too small for them. High heel shoes can cause the tendons to contract and shorten causing Hammer toe because of the unnatural way that your toes are forced to bend. This means that the best way to avoid hammer toe and possibly even to cure it is to wear properly fitting shoes with a heel that is not too high. While this may seem impossible if wearing high heels is a part of your job you can minimize the damage by getting as low a heel as possible and making sure that your shoes are as comfortable as possible for your feet. The less your feet are forced to bend at such unnatural angles the less chance you have of developing hammer toe. There are two types of hammer toe, flexible hammer toe where you still have some range of movement in your toe and rigid hammer toe in which you have no movement at all.
Flexible hammer toe is still correctable simply by wearing shoes that allow your feet to be in as natural a position as possible. Rigid hammer toe usually needs surgery to correct.
Most often whether a podiatrist will do surgery will largely depend on the amount of pain you are experiencing. If your hammer toe is not painful they will avoid doing surgery on it, unless it becomes difficult for you to wear shoes. It is also possible that your podiatrist may recommend a special type of shoe that will encourage your toe to reposition itself. If you are in a lot of pain that is not corrected by wearing comfortable shoes, then this is when a podiatrist may consider doing surgery.
Dr Ravaei is a board certified podiatrist that can help you with your hammer toe. He can be reached at his website 866 866 Feet for more information.