Hammer toes

What is it?

This condition occurs when half of the toe bends and the other half is straight, shortening the toe. This results in the toe rubbing against the shoe, which causes pain and forms a corn.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptom is painful rubbing of the toe against the top of a shoe, especially the second toe, which results in a thickened tissue (corn) on the top of the toe.

What causes it?

Hammer toes may be the result of improper fitting shoes or a dropped metartasal bone (a bone in the middle of the foot). This causes the tendons of the toes to contract (tighten), resulting in the early part of the toe bending involuntarily. The biomechanical problems of timing and pressure in the forefoot (front) causes the problem to continue.

How is it treated?

First, press up on the ball of corresponding toe from the bottom surface. If the toe straightens out you know that a custom orthotic is necessary to correct the biomechanical problems and remove stress on the tendons. It is not always possible to reverse shortening of the tendons and the hammer toe(s), but a custom orthotics may prevent the condition from getting worse and alleviate pain associated with the condition.