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What Causes a Hammer Toe?

Before getting to, what causes a hammer toe? How about you first get to know what a hammer toe is. A hammer toe entails the disfiguration of the toe whereby its structure is not in the typical forward form but instead faces downwards. The Hammer toe usually develops by individual life experiences such as wearing shoes that do not fit or arthritis among other things but can also be there at birth, unfortunately. The hammer toe which is also known as the mallet toe affects the tendons of the affected toe causing it to bend downwards. Failure to get prior treatment may cause muscles to contract and ultimately tighten resulting in the affected two to be completely bent. Usually, the hammer toe touches one toe which in most cases is the second or third toe.

Here is all you need to know about the hammer toe regarding symptoms, treatment but especially what causes a hammer toe.

Symptoms of a Hammer Toe

You may have a hammer toe in its early stages and not realize it which would be terrible when you realize it’s a hammer toe when your toe is permanently bent, and there is nothing you can do about it anymore.

As the hammer toe begins to manifest you will feel discomfort on the affected toe as you walk. It is also characterized by pain in any attempt to stretch, rotate or in any way move the affected toe. At this point, you should seek the opinion of a physician and have him or her check it.

Failure to seek medical attention for the affected toe would consequently lead to the severe symptoms. The severe symptoms include;

  • • Corns or calluses on the affected toe which is usually due to friction from the shoes you wear on an irregularly shaped toe.

  • • Walking difficulty, caused by the pain on the hammer toe. At this point, you may start limping.

  • • The hammered toe bends downwards.

  • • Claw-like toes, which is due to the bending. At this point, it would be difficult to reverse the effect.

Causes of the Hammer Toe

So, what causes a hammer toe? Many things actually, most of which you unfortunately cannot control. Knowing what causes this mallet toe, however, would assist you in getting help once you sense the possibility of having it. Or you could prevent it on the aspects that cause it that are within your control. The following factors cause a hammer toe:

  • • Arthritis. Arthritis is a disease that attacks the joints that mostly affects people of an elderly age and also causes disability to its victims. The hammer toe is one of the after effects of arthritis.

  • • A traumatic toe injury. An accident that entailed breaking or jamming your toe would increase the possibility of it becoming a hammer toe. So in the event of such, it is advisable that you seek a quick checkup.

  • • Bad shoes. The kind of shoes you wear impact highly on the possibility of getting you a hammer toe. For starters, there is the habit of wearing shoes that do not properly fit. You may have a favorite pair or an only pair but once they do not properly fit the best advice is to get yourself a new pair. Wearing high heels is another cause of the hammer toe. It is okay to own a couple pairs of high heels but do not make it a habit of wearing them a lot especially if you walk for long distances. Other footwear that is characteristically snug at the toe box is a call for the hammer toe. Any type of footwear that does not allow your toes to lie flat can cause you the hammer toe.

  • • Pressure from a bunion. A bunion is a bulge that is usually on the big toe which entails swelling under the skin that contains a sack of fluid. The bunion causes the big toe to face inwards and onto the second toe. The advice at this point is to wear wide shoes so as to reduce the pressure on the second toe.

  • • Tight foot ligaments and tendons. When you get older or after certain medical conditions your muscles tend to lose their flexibility. At this point the likelihood of getting the hammer toe increases as your tendons and ligaments tighten.

Treatment for the Hammer Toe

Fortunately, the hammer toe is treatable, but each treatment is distinct to the factor that caused it which is more of the reason you should know the reasons you have just learned. For instance resulting from improper footwear, going shoe shopping for proper footwear is the answer. People tend to use over- the-counter medication, cushions or pads to deal with bunions before they turn your second toe into a hammer toe. In the unfortunate circumstance that your hammer toe gets severe enough that it is permanently bent, the only option is surgery.

Hammer Toe Complications

The hammer toe also has a precise categorization of individuals that it is likely to affect which is related to its causes. The risk of being affected hammer toe increases by age. Women also are at a higher danger of being victims of the hammer toe, which is a shoe factor more specifically heels. People with the hammer sometimes develop infections. These infections are as a result of developing sores in the middle or, at the joint of the affected toe. These wounds in most cases are as a result of friction if you persist in wearing shoes on the hammer toe. The infections are,however, very rare.

In conclusion

The hammer toe can be diagnosed by a doctor during a physical exam or by X-ray. However, as long as you are able to answer the question, what causes a hammer toe? The signs should be evident from the start of a muscle or ligament deformity on the toe. It is possible to live normally with the hammer toe except for the pain and deformed toe that would be embarrassing to wear sandals in. Other than that the other aspects of your life remain. However, as much as it may not be a medical emergency it is important to seek medical care for it before it costs you more than it should, to treat. Hit on us on commentary section below if you have any question that’s need a discussion, especially on relieving hammer toe and discomfort.


Jessica Natalie is a health and fitness lifestyle blogger who is passionate about running and wants to spread the love on her blog

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