The History of Shoes and Toes Tells Us A Lot About Hammertoes


The toes were originally straight, like the fingers. The advent of shoes, however, changed that fact. Shoes, studies tell us, were worn by Eurasian man as long as 40,000 years ago. Scientists have noted that early man’s toes were longer and thicker than modern man’s toes. Early man walked and climbed a lot, so he had to be on his toes. That makes hammertoes in Hyde Park a relatively new thing.

What Are Hammertoes?

When the toes bend upward at the first joint, hammertoes are present. There is usually an abnormal tilt to the toes with the bone apparent. Hammertoes affects the second, third, and fourth toes. It begins as a mild deformity and progressively worsens over time. Hammertoes rub spots on each other and against shoes, which causes sores and calluses. Hammertoes don’t get better, and although there are methods of treatment available to ease the symptoms, the condition cannot be permanently fixed, nor will it go away with time.

What Causes Hammertoes?

Muscle and tendon imbalances cause hammertoes. Structural and neurological changes in the toes leads to this imbalance. Hammertoes are exacerbated by wearing footwear that’s too tight or pointy-toed. Trauma also cause hammertoes.

Symptoms of Hammertoes

A foot with hammertoes in Hyde Park will exhibit pain and irritation from wearing shoes. Calluses will form on tops of toes and between toes. The toes and foot will swell and/or burn. The toe will bow up, which is called contracture.

Treatment Options

Only in severe cases is surgery recommended. Treatment options include orthotic devices to control the imbalance of muscle and tendon. Changes in footwear are recommended to include shoes with no points in the toes, no high heels, and shoes that are too small. Shoes should be spacious and comfortable. NSAIDs are recommended for pain. Mitchell Foot & Ankle will tell you more about hammertoes when you visit for an appointment