Patients often refer to all forms of toe abnormalities as a hammer toe. There are in fact four main forms of toe abnormalities, hammer toes, claw toes, mallet toes and trigger toes. A hammer toe can be best described as an abnormal contraction or “buckling” of a toe. This occurs due to a partial or complete dislocation of one of the joints that form the toe. As the toe continues to be deformed, it will press up against the shoe and may cause corns.
- A hammer toe can result in corns and hard skin on the top of the toe or at the apex of the toe.
There are various causative factors but the most common are inappropriate shoes, flat feet, high arched feet, in hereditary (family), bunions and rheumatoid arthritis. For many people, the second toe is actually longer than the great toe and if shoes are sized to fit the great toe, the second (and maybe even the third toe) will have to bend to fit into the shoe. Shoes that are pointed make matters even worse. Combine pointed shoes with high heels; the foot is under similar pressure as if it was constantly being pushed downhill into a wall.