A hammertoe is a deformity where your toe bends or curls downward rather than forwards. Either toe on one foot might be affected by this condition. The second or even third toe is the most commonly affected. Even though Hammer toes might be present from birth, it generally develops throughout time as a result of osteoarthritis or wearing shoes that are too tight or too pointy. A hammertoe is usually curable.
Asymmetric ligaments around the joint are the cause of this disease. Wearing inappropriate shoes that are too big or too small is a prevalent cause. Inflammation, stiffness, and walking difficulties are some of the symptoms. When it first appears, a hammertoe is treatable. However, if the patient does not undergo therapy, the condition may worsen and become serious.
What Leads to the Formation of a Hammertoe?
One’s toe has two joints in the centre and bottom, which enable it to flex. Whenever the central joint flexes or bends downward, it causes a hammertoe. The following are some common reasons:
- A severe toe damage
- An extraordinarily high shoe arch
- Wearing improperly fitting shoes
- Muscles or ligaments of the foot that are tight
- Whenever your big toe arches inward towards your middle toe, you have a deformity.
All of one’s toes might curl inward due to spinal cord or sensory nerve injury.
The toes can be in a toe-to-toe position with shoes that have a toe box that is too tight or that has a high heel. If you hold your toes in this position for an extended period, the muscles that can stretch your toes will become stiff and impaired. Eventually, even if you wear loose shoes, it will be difficult to straighten them. Hammer toes are often caused by this tightness and other causes. Wearing tight shoes can exacerbate the problem.
People can be more susceptible to hammertoes due to genetics. A trusted source used data from 2002 to 2008 to investigate the prevalence of toe abnormalities, especially hammertoes, in 2,446 Caucasian Europeans. Researchers have found that these disorders are highly hereditary in this community. If one family has a hammertoe, it is more likely that others in the family will have it. However, it is not evident if this applies to everyone, as the study excludes families from other parts of the world and different races and ethnicities.
Gender and Age
Elderly women commonly develop hammertoes. In a 2013 survey from a trusted source, half of the women over the age of 70 had mild toe malformations. This may be because women in some cultures tend to wear shoes that limit or put pressure on their toes, increasing the risk of Hammertoes. A cross-sectional study in Malaysia in 2021 found that young women working in high heels had a significantly higher prevalence of toe problems than women wearing other types of shoes. Octopus, hallux valgus, and contracted toe were one of the toe problems.
What Can You Do to Avoid Hammertoes?
Wearing properly-fitted shoes is the best way to prevent toe diseases. If your shoes are too tight, measure your foot length and width at your local shoe store. If you wear heels, keep them at least 2 inches. Wearing high-heeled shoes puts more pressure on your toes and bends them. Corn and high arches are other possible side effects.