A hammer toe is defined as a contracture of the toe. Caused by an imbalance of the tendons on top and bottom of the toes, a hammer toe is initially flexible, where it can manually be straightened with a finger. With time, the flexibility of the toe with be reduced, leaving the toe rigidly contracted. A rigid hammer toe is not only painful to touch over the knuckle, but is also painful with attempted straightening of the toe.

Most commonly, hammer toes cause pain with shoes as the top of the shoe rubs on the top of the toes, causing redness, callouses, and occassionally sores to develop. Treatment is aimed at reduction of symptoms by either padding the irritated area with over the counter (non medicated) corn pads to prevent the shoes from rubbing on the area, wearing larger shoes with more room in the toe area, or surgically reducing the contracted toe.

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