Hammer toe is a deformity caused by a permanent bend at the middle joint of a toe. The middle of th...
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Hammer toe is a deformity caused by a permanent bend at the middle joint of a toe. The middle of the toe bends upwards while the tip points downward, causing the toe to resemble a hammer. A person with a hammer toe may also have corns or calluses on the top of the joint bending upward or the tip bending downward. Hammer toe is commonly caused by wearing shoes that are too short or tight, have narrow pointy toes, and heels that are too high. Shoes that are too short or narrow and pointy push the smaller toes into a bent position. Very high heels shift your weight forward onto your toes. When the toes are forced against the front of the shoe, they bend under. If the tendons that straighten and bend the toes are held in one position too long, they tighten and can't stretch out. If caught early and the toe is still flexible, hammer toe may be treated by wearing roomier footwear. Once the toe is rigid, surgery may be needed to straighten it by cutting the tendon and sometimes removing pieces of bone.