Hammer toe is a condition where the toe of the patient becomes deformed. The appearance of the toe will bear a downward curl that will make it look abnormal. This condition can mostly be seen during one childhood itself, and it usually known to affect the second or third tow on the foot.
Let us find out more about the symptoms, risk factors and treatment for this condition.
- Symptoms: The sheer discomfort of walking around with a hammer toe is one of the first symptoms of the condition. The permanent damage will be visible in the way the toe curls and becomes deformed. The formation of corn or calluses is also a common symptom of this condition, while some patients may also experience the growth of claw like toes. Most patients feel pain when they are walking or running even as inflexibility sets in, which makes it difficult to flex the foot or stretch and wiggle the toes properly.
- Risk Factors: While the most common causes of the hammer toe remain an injury or even arthritis, it may be seen that those with a family history and prolonged use of high and pointed heels may be at risk more than others. This deformity can happen at birth or may progress as age catches on, depending on the risk factors at play. Also, when the patient suffers from the growth of calluses, corn and bunions that go untreated for a long time, it may manifest into a hammer toe eventually. This happens because these growths can make the layer of the skin thick and lead to a perpetual formation in the area due to the constant friction that also causes pain and discomfort. People with a high foot arch are also at risk of developing a hammer toe.
- Treatment: The orthopaedic specialist is the best person who can help with the diagnosis and treatment of this condition. While the diagnosis consists of the conduct of an X ray to find the cause and extent of the damage, the doctor may also conduct nerve function tests to find out if any nerves have been damaged for the condition to have taken place. Also, the specialist will try to find causes like ligament injuries and other such things that could have led to the condition. Accordingly, the treatment method will be put forth. A mild hammer toe can be treated by wearing more comfortable footwear with pads to treat corns and other growths. For a severe condition, surgery is the only way out.
Ensure that you report the smallest and most persistent changes to your doctor so that treatment can take place well in time.