Common Foot Problems:



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What is a Hammertoe?

A hammertoe is a foot deformity presented as an abnormal bending of the toe at the middle joint caused by a weakened muscle.


This bending causes the toe to curl under the foot. Any toe can be involved, but the condition usually involves the second through fifth toes. While hammertoes can run in families, they are more common in females than in males.

There are two different types:

Flexible Hammertoes:

This is a mild type of hammertoe with multiple options for treatment. These hammertoes are flexible because the toe is still movable at the joint.

Rigid Hammertoes:

This is a more serious condition than the flexible hammertoe, since it's characterized by rigid tendons making the toes unmovable. Rigid hammertoes are more common on patients with severe arthritis, or those who wait too long to seek professional treatment. When the tendons have become tight and the joint misaligned and immobile, surgery becomes the most efficient treatment.


  • Wearing a shoe that puts pressure at the top of the bent toe.
  • When corns form on the top of the joint.
  • Redness/inflammation at the joint contracture.
  • Painful movement of the toe joint.
  • Pain in the ball of the foot under the bent toe.

How Do You Get a Hammertoe?

A hammertoe can form when the toe muscles get out of balance. This abnormal balance puts a lot of pressures on the tendons and joints of the toe, causing it to bend. There are three main reasons that cause muscles to get out of balance:

  • Heredity - It may be in your genes (for example, you have flat or unstable feet)
  • Arthritis - This is also a major factor
  • Toe Injury - Caused mainly by wearing shoes that are too tight, too short/pointy, or even high heeled shoes

How Will Our Doctors Treat a Hammertoe?

Depending on which type of hammertoe you have, the treatment options will vary. The earlier the deformity can be identified, the greater the chances of avoiding surgery.

A hammertoe that is left untreated can become rigid, making a non-surgical treatment less of an option. For milder cases, our doctors may recommend foot exercises to help restore muscle balance. Other options may be splinting the toe, wearing custom-made inserts, or using drugs to ease the pain and swelling.

If you have any questions about our podiatry services, contact us today!