An informative way to understand hammer toes is to view them as a vertical bunion (up & down vs. sideways). Both are caused by improper and constant pressure without counterbalancing stretch and exercise program. The pressure results in permanent muscle imbalances in the toe. If muscle balance in your toes is disrupted, your ability to skillfully and safely balance your body is disrupted. Instead of pushing the toe sideways toward the center of the foot as with a bunion, hammertoe pressure is pushing the toe backward, toward the ball of the foot. The toe has no choice but to bend up and that is the beginning of a hammer toe. No room in the end of your shoes for five toes to fit, so one or more volunteer to bend, shorten and lift up. Voila, hammer toe!
To keep the lower leg circulation working and the calf muscles fresh, the muscles rely on having a constant supply of fresh blood to the tissues-blood is sent to the lower legs under pressure through the arteries and ever decreasing in size vessels called arterioles and even smaller capillaries-as the vessel size reduces the pressure taking it there also decreases. By the time the blood reaches the feet, all the pressure has been used, and there is none left to return the blood back up the legs to the body against gravity again.
The calf muscle pump is made up of all the muscles in the legs, but the motors that provide the power for the pump are the calf muscles-these are made up of 2 basic movers.