A hammer toe refers to a deformed toe which is bent upwards at its middle joint. The toe begins to resemble a hammer and becomes painful.
Custom made insoles and shoes with a wide toe box can reduce the pain and arrest the worsening of the deformity.
A hammer toe is usually caused by wearing extremely narrow footwear which compress your toes. It can also be caused in children when their feet have overgrown their shoes and the shoes have not been changed. The second toe is the most common toe to be affected with this deformity with the third and fourth toes being the less commonly affected ones. Some patients have a naturally longer second toe joint. This causes the toe to bear more load during walking causing it to get deformed. The condition of hallux valgus, in which the great toe starts deviating medially, can put more pressure on the second toe and cause it to bend. Diabetic foot neuropathy and rheumatoid arthritis can also cause hammer toes.
Custom insoles can relieve the affected toe of some of its pressure. Custom shoes with a wider toe box can prevent the condition from getting worse.
A claw toe is a condition similar to the hammer toe where the toe resembles the claw of a bird. The toe is bent upwards at the mid joint and it’s distal joint is bent downwards. It can affect the second, third, fourth and fifth toes. Insoles can help bring pain relief in this case too, and also in cases of mallet toe, a condition which affects the distal joint of the toe.