Hammer toe

Hallux Flexus or Hammertoe. The upward prominence of a toe (usually the second or third) in a rigid position, is known as hallux flexus  or hammertoe. In this condition the toe is flexed in its second joint so that the end bears on the ground, while the junction between the phalanges makes a prominence upward. Helomata and callosities may develop on the end of the toe, but the chief discomfort is in the disturbances which arise on the prominence which presses against the side of the foot-gear.

Treatment. A knowledge of the forces at work will show how futile must be any effort to correct this deformity by strapping or bandaging. There is a shortening of the plantar fibres of the lateral ligament of the joint. The trouble does not lie in the flexor tendons, as it seems, and operations directed to this point fail. Even with incision of the lateral ligaments, followed by the application of a splint, recurrences are common and amputation must be the procedure.

The condition described as hammertoe may exist in several or in all of the toes, the great toe being least often involved. This occurs most often as a result of wearing improper shoes, but is sometimes the consequence of paralysis.