What Is Hammertoe?
Hammertoe (also known as claw toe) is a type of deformity of the foot. It causes a toe to bend or curl pointing downward instead of pointing forward. Once this occurs it affects the center joint of the toe. The condition affects the second or third toe most often, although any toe can be affected. When this affects the joint closest to the toenail, it is called mallet toe. On the other hand, when the toe crosses over an adjacent toe, it is called cross-over toe.
Symptoms & Causes of Hammertoe?
Hammer toe is an abnormal bend of the toe joint. It can occur in one or more toe. It becomes difficult and painful when the affected toe is moved. And your toes may rub on the inside of your shoe, causing calluses and corns.
The most common causes of hammer toe are attributed to hereditary/genetic causes. Although footwear such as high-heels or tight shoes that crowd the toes are also an additional cause. Hammertoe normally develops over time. In some cases, however, due to arthritis, injury, nerve damage, or bunion of the big toe. Regardless of the cause, a hammertoe is treatable.
Risk Factors of the Condition
Certain factors increase your risk of hammertoe, such as:
- Sex. Women will develop hammer toe more often than men.
- Age. As you age, the risk of the condition increases.
- Toe length. Those who the second toe are larger than their big toe are at high right.
- Diseases. Certain diseases make you more prone to the condition, such as arthritis and diabetes.
Hammer Toe Surgical Options
Based on the severity and/or length of the toe, the surgeon has different options to correct a hammertoe. Hammertoe repair surgery consists of removing a portion of the bone at the contracted joint to realign the toe. Your foot and ankle surgeon, however, will advise and discuss the specific type of hammertoe surgery that best suits the patient. The most common types of hammertoe repair surgery include:
- Fusing the joints to straighten the toe
- Removing parts of the bones in the toe
- Cutting or transplanting the tendons the toe
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