Hammer toes are deformities most often occurring in the second through fourth toes.
They cause the toes to bend to the side from the middle joint. This positioning makes the affected toe look like a hammer.
Two common causes of hammer toes include:
Risk factors that make certain people more likely to develop hammer toes include:
If not treated, a hammer toe can progress and cause more muscle problems in the toes. They can even cause reduced or complete loss of function certain toes.
The altered positioning of the hammer toe can cause:
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Most notably, hammer toes are characterized by the joint bend and shifted positioning of the toes.
Before and after these deformities occur, symptoms of hammer toe may include:
To confirm a diagnosis of hammer toes, your doctor at UPMC Orthopaedic Care will fully review your:
Common diagnostic exams and tests may include:
Treatments for hammer toes can vary, depending on how severe the case.
In general, treatment goals for hammer toes aim to:
At UPMC Orthopaedic Care, our doctors use a range of treatments in cases of hammer toes such as:
Doctors may prescribe pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications to treat hammer toes.
Common nonsurgical treatments include many different types of shoe adaptations to help with hammer toe pain relief. The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgery recommends shoes that are one half inch longer than the longest toe.
Additional shoe adaptations include:
Orthopaedic experts at UPMC often suggest hammer toe correction surgery for people that haven't had success with nonsurgical treatments for their hammer toes.
Some of the more common surgical strategies for hammer toes aim to:
Both surgical and nonsurgical treatments for hammer toes, when implemented quickly, can be effective in preserving and even restoring and repairing toe flexibility.
If you think you might be at risk for hammer toes, it's crucial to regularly monitor:
After any surgical treatments for hammer toes, you may experience:
You will be able to walk after surgery, but should do so in moderation.
Failure to follow doctors' orders of postoperative rest may lead to further problems and related complications.
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