A hammer toe or contracted toe is a deformity of the proximal interphalangeal joint of the second, third, or fourth toe causing it to be permanently bent, resembling a hammer. We encourage you to contact us whenever you have an interest or concern about our services. X-rays: Often your doctor will determine that x-rays may be necessary to get a better understanding of the extent of the deformity and what the best treatment is for the affected toe. Treatment may take considerably longer to effect a cure, if it is not possible for you to avoid the causes of your mallet toe, such as neurological disorders. Additional causes, such as pressure and friction on the foot may also make it more difficult to heal a mallet toe. The first method of treating mallet toes begins with accommodating the deformity. Padding: Prescribed gel pads from your doctor can help prevent irritation to corns and calluses that have developed from the mallet toe. This is more common with flexible types of mallet toes. If hammertoe is still causing concerns such as thickening skin on the top or the tips of the toesseek professional advice from your podiatrist Hammer Toe here at Paddo Physio and Podiatry on what can be done to manage the problem. The second toe is usually affected by a hammertoe. Claw toes are not necessarily harmful in and of themselves, but if the toe bend is permanent and/or painful, surgery may be desired. Surgery may be performed on the shortened tendon, in order to lengthen or reposition it in order to facilitate the straightening of the toes. In other cases, steel pins may be inserted into the toe, forcing it to straighten. Trauma and inflammation can also cause claw toe deformity. The muscles in the feet work together to maintain the shape and function of the toes. When the toes are forced to stay bent for too long the tendons get shorter and the muscles tighten up. Over time, this causes the toes to become deformed and not function correctly. The major symptoms of claw toe and hammertoe are pain and deformity. Hammertoe is characterized by a toe bends downward at the location of the middle joint. Claw toe often occurs in all four toes at the same time. The joints affected are located where the toes and feet connect, causing the feet to point down towards the floor. Depending on the severity, common foot conditions can be treated by wearing properly fitting shoes with plenty of space for the toes. If the affected toes do not respond to basic treatment then surgery may be required. Typically, these treatment options do not cause the toe go back to its original position. People may be born with claw toe or develop the condition later in life for a variety of reasons that are associated with structural changes in the nerves, muscles, or tendons that bend the toes. Alcoholism, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, stroke, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord disorders, and cerebral palsy increase the risk of developing claw toe. Claw toe is four to five times more common in women than in men. The likelihood of claw toe increases with age. The affected toe may be painful or irritated, especially at the base or tip of the toe. Putting padding between your toes and strapping them in place can help to stop pain caused by the toes rubbing. Exercises to stretch your toe joints into a flatten position may help. However if your pain persists your consultant may recommend an surgery. The type of surgery performed will depend on the problem with your toes and may involve releasing or lengthening tendons, putting joints back into place, straightening a toe and changing the shape of a bone. You should be able to go home the day of your surgery. You will be given medication for pain relief. You may need to wear a surgical shoe with an open toe for several weeks following your operation. Be sure and continue to take any pain medication. Feel free to call us about claw toes on 0845 603 4346 or simply fill in a form to your right and we can call you back. The toe can be tender and walking or wearing shoes can be painful.