When your toes begin to curl in at the middle toe joint, this could be the early stages of a hammer toe or clawed toe and it can affect people of every age and gender.
What’s the cause?
It can be caused by a variety of reasons, but more often than not it is related to a muscular imbalance and the person’s foot-type, such as over-pronation and over-supination, therefore genetics are involved to some extent. Injury to the toe joints and wearing ill-fitting footwear can also be contributing factors to long-term pain and discomfort, which can start to negatively impact your life.
What’s the difference between a hammer toe and clawed toe?
Even though they are two different toe deformities, people often refer to them as being the same condition. A hammer toe usually involves the second and third digits and the toe is pulled upwards and often off the ground, resulting in a lot of pressure being taken on the ball of the foot. Clawed Toes usually involve all of the smaller toes (2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th) and the toes are pulled down towards the ground and more weight is taken onto the ends of the toes. As a general rule, an over-pronated foot which has a lower arch, develops hammer toes, whereas clawed toes are seen more often with a supinated high-arched foot-type.
Hammer toes and clawed toes can be:
- Flexible: The affected toes can still be straightened by hand
- Rigid: The affected toe cannot be pulled straight by hand and it may be extremely painful
Signs and Symptoms That You Are Developing A Toe Deformity
- Pain in the middle toe joint, the top of the toe, the base of the toe, or the ball of the foot
- Corns on the top or end of the toe
- Calluses on the ball of the foot
- Cramping in the toe
- Pain along the tendons that insert into the toes
- Difficulty fitting footwear
Treatment varies depending on which toe deformity you have and whether it is flexible or rigid, but remember the longer you leave this problem untreated, the worse it will become, so the sooner you schedule an appointment at Proarch Podiatry the better.