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Hammertoe Causes

A common cause of hammertoe is wearing improper footwear shoes that are too tight in the toe box, or high-heel shoes. Wearing shoes of either type can push the toes forward, crowding one or more of them into a space that's not large enough to allow the toes to lie flat. The result is a toe that bends up in the middle and then curls down in a hammer-like or claw-like shape. The shoes can rub against the raised portion of the toe or toes, causing painful corns or calluses.

Hammertoe Definition

A hammertoe is a toe that's curled because of a bend in the middle joint of a toe.

Hammertoe Diagnosis

A doctor should be seen if there is foot pain that's persistent and that affects the ability to walk properly and carry out other motions with the foot. Also, see the doctor if one or more of the toes has developed a clenched or claw-like appearance.

Hammertoe Symptoms and Signs

Signs and symptoms of hammertoe may include: a hammer-like or claw-like appearance of a toe; pain and difficulty moving the toe; and corns and calluses resulting from the toe rubbing against the inside of the footwear.

Hammertoe Treatment

If the toe is still flexible, the doctor may recommend that the patient change to roomier and more comfortable footwear and that he or she wear shoe inserts (orthotics) or pads. Wearing inserts or pads can reposition the toe and relieve pressure and pain.

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