It goes by many names from hammer, to claw, and mallet toes. The muscles that control your toes get out of balance and cause the toe to bend into an odd position at one or more joints. These toe problems almost always happen in the four smaller toes, not the big toe. If you notice that your toe looks odd or hurts, talk to your doctor. You may be able to fix your toe with home treatment. If you do not treat your toe right away, you are more likely to need surgery. These toe problems develop over years and are common in adults. Women have more of these problems than men because of the types of shoes they may wear, such as high heels.
Tight shoes are the most common cause of these toe problems. Wearing tight shoes can cause the toe muscles to get out of balance. Two muscles work together to straighten and bend the toes. If a shoe forces a toe to stay in a bent position for too long, the muscles tighten and the tendons shorten. This makes it harder to straighten the toe. Over time, the toe muscles cannot straighten the toe, even if you are not wearing shoes. There are other reasons why it happens like problems in the structure at birth which run in families. It could be joint diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Brain disorders like stroke, cerebral palsy, or degenerative disc, spinal cord, or nerve injury [especially in the case of claw toe] can also cause this condition. Even staying in bed over an extended period of time, and not thus not using your toe can cause the muscles to shorten leading to this type of toe problem. You could have poor blood flow to your feet because of a peripheral arterial disease. You could also have little or no feeling in your feet which is called peripheral neuropathy from disorders like diabetes that can cause this condition. Then there is always breaking the toe itself that can cause the toe to heal malformed.
Pain and a toe that looks odd are symptoms of hammer, claw, and mallet toes. The toe may rub against your footwear, and you may have trouble finding shoes that fit. A hammer toe is a toe that bends down toward the floor at the middle toe joint. It usually happens in the second toe. This causes the middle toe joint to rise up. Hammer toes often occur with bunions. Claw toe often happens in the four smaller toes at the same time. The toes bend up at the joints where the toes and the foot meet. They bend down at both the middle joints and at the joints nearest the tip of the toes. This causes the toes to curl down toward the floor. A mallet toe often happens in the second toe, but it may happen in the other toes as well. The toe bends down at the joint closest to the tip of the toe.
We can help with the right orthodics specifically made to protect and support your toe. We can also look at the joint itself to see if Chiropractic can help. We also have different treatment programs to help with the pain, inflammation and muscle involvement given your specific condition. Hammer toes can be accommodated by adding a toe crest pad to your Footmaxx orthotics. This pad allows the toes to be in their natural position, spread out to relieve crowding.