Hammertoe is a condition in which the toe is bent in a downward position. It can be present in one or all toes. The main cause of hammertoe is the shortening of tendons responsible for the control and movement of the affected toe or toes. Top portions of the toes become callused from the friction produced against the inside of shoes. This common foot problem often results from improper fit of the shoes. This is especially the case with high-heeled shoes placing pressure on the front part of the foot that compresses the smaller toes tightly together. The condition frequently stems from muscle imbalance, and usually leaves the affected individual with impaired balance.
Conservative treatments include; Wearing proper footwear and stockings with plenty of room in the toe region can provide treatment for hammertoe. Stretching exercises may be helpful in lengthening the excessively tight tendons.
In advanced cases, where conservative treatment is unsuccessful, surgery may be recommended. The tendons that attach to the involved toes are located and an incision is made to free the connective tissue to the foot bones. Additional incisions are made so the toes no longer bend in a downward fashion. The middle joints of the affected toes are connected together permanently with surgical hardware such as pins and wire sutures. The incision is then closed with fine sutures. These sutures are removed approximately seven to ten days after surgery.
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