Hammertoes can make walking painful. With hammertoes, one or more toes curl or bend abnormally. This can be caused by an inherited muscle problem, an abnormal bone length, or poor foot mechanics. The affected joints can rub inside shoes, causing corns (buildups of dead skin).
A curled fifth toe is most often inherited. When the fifth toe curls inward, it moves under the next toe. Then the nail of the curled toe starts to face outward. As a result, you may bear weight on the side of your toe instead of the bottom. This can cause corns and painful nails.
There are many nonsurgical treatments available. But if these are not effective, surgery is a choice.
A wedge of skin and a section of bone are removed to help straighten (derotate) the toe. You can bear weight on your foot right after surgery. In some cases, you may need to wear a bandage, splint, and surgical shoe for a few weeks. When healed, the bones become connected with scar tissue.
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