Introduction to Hammer Toes
Patients often refer to all forms of toe abnormalities as a hammer toe. There are in fact four main forms of toe abnormalities, hammer toes, claw toes, mallet toes and trigger toes. A hammer toe can be best described as an abnormal contraction or "buckling" of a toe. This occurs due to a partial or complete dislocation of one of the joints that form the toe.
Understanding this condition
- As the toe continues to be deformed, it will press up against the shoe and may cause corns.
- There are two joints in the lesser toes and one joint in the large toe. If the deformity occurs in the lesser toes and in the joint nearest the nail, it is called a mallet toe. .
- If the deformity occurs in the lesser toes and in the joint nearest the foot, it is called a hammer toe (View hammer toe).
- If the deformity in the lesser toes involves both of the joints, then the toe is referred to as a claw toe (View claw toe).
- If the deformity occurs in the large toe, it is known as a trigger toe.
- A hammer toe may be painful, especially when irritated by a shoe.
- All four toe conditions may cause cramps in the toes, foot and leg due to the abnormal function of the tendons in the foot.
- If a mallet toe has occurred, you are likely to suffer from a corn at the end of the toe.
- A hammer toe may cause a corn on the top of the toe (View corn and hammer toe).
- Infections and ulcers can also occur.
- In severe cases a mallet toe, trigger toe, claw toe or a hammer toe may create a downward pressure on the foot, which can result in hard skin and corns on the soles of the feet.