A Hammertoe is a condition in which the middle joint in the toe gets rigid and fixed. In some cases, the deformed joint looks like a hammer. This can happen in the second, third, or fourth toes.
In many cases, a corn or callus develops at the top of the middle joint or the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint. Instead of being flat on the ground, the joint points up and appears deformed. In fact, toes that curl are also considered hammertoe.
Generally, the condition is classified into three categories:
- If you can still move the joint, it is flexible hammertoes. In this case, the problem is at a preliminary stage, and there are multiple options for treatment.
- When the hammertoe starts to harden, the condition is a semi-rigid hammertoe.
- If the tendons have hardened, it is a rigid hammertoe. At this stage, the toe can not be moved, and surgery is the only remedy.
What are the Symptoms?
Here are some of the common symptoms of hammertoes:
- Pain and inflammation in the affected area. This can cause difficulty while walking or when wearing shoes.
- Formation of corns or calluses on the toe or between two toes. At times, corns can also develop on the ball of the foot. These are caused due to the constant friction of the deformed areas against the shoe. Based on the conditions and location, the corns can be hard or soft.
- Redness in the affected area, accompanied by irritation or a burning sensation.
- Contracture of the affected toe and difficulty in moving it. Usually, the stiffness and soreness get worse with time.
- In some severe cases, the skin might break and cause open sores.