Hammer and Claw Toes
The most common toe deformities are hammer toes, claw toes and bone spurs. These involve the lesser toes, which are the second to fifth toes. With a hammer toe, the second toe usually bends up, doesn’t straighten during walking and can be painful. Quite often, corns develop where the bend rubs against your shoe and this can lead to redness, swelling and even open ulcers. A claw toe is where the toe is bent at both the middle knuckle and the tip of the toe.
What are the Symptoms?
If left untreated, the toes can become rigid and, as it progresses, your foot’s mechanics can become painful and can even seize up, restricting your ability to walk, especially in high heeled shoes, and exercise. Hammer toes and claw toes are sometimes caused or made worse by a bunion deformity involving the big toe.
Treatment Options for Hammer and Claw Toes
When hammer toes and claw toes are causing mild to moderate pain, less invasive and conservative treatments will be recommended, including changing to broader shoes and lower heels. Cushions and pumice stones which thin callouses and corns can also provide relief but your Baddow Hospital consultant will advise you accordingly.
If your condition is severe enough, surgery may be recommended.. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s best to see the Consultant Podiatrists at Baddow Hospital as soon as possible as the longer the condition goes unchecked, the greater the chance you will have to undergo surgery.
Hammer and Claw Toe Surgery
The main aim of surgery is to restore your toe’s alignment and joint function. If there’s still flexibility in the toe, tight tendons can be released by making a small incision. If the toe is inflexible, the knuckle can be straightened and returned to a normal alignment. Sometimes a small pin is inserted into the bone to maintain the correct position whilst it heals.
Following surgery, the foot is bandaged and a post-operative shoe worn for a week. Trainers can be worn after the first week. Exercise and prolonged standing are restricted for the first two to eight weeks and then (after consultation with your consultant) you’ll be able to resume normal activities and wear more fashionable shoes.