Hammertoe is a name given to various deformities that can occur in any of the lesser toes. It is reserved for use when describing contracture and bending of any toe except the big toe. As the problem continues, there may be severe corns or calluses on top of the affected toes or on the end of those toes. The Hammertoes are caused by a combination of structural and biomechanical faults in the foot, ligamentous weakness, tendinous weakness, abnormal weight transfer through the foot, ill-fitting shoes and arthritic conditions. These are similar causes seen in Bunion deformity. That is the reason why these conditions are often seen together. Patients will come in complaining of not just pain and deformity in the big toe joints, but also curling of the smaller toes all causing shoe pressure.
Treatment for hammertoes is necessary because when the problem becomes longstanding, arthritis affects those joints more quickly. This can add to the pain. After conservative therapy of changes in shoegear and corrction of muscular imbalance have been tried, surgery may be offerred as a way to correct the damage that is already present. This procedure is associated with a quick recovery and the patient is usually able to get back into normal shoes in 2-3 weeks. With proper post-operative care by the patient, complications such as swelling may be avoided.