Skip to main content


This article does not constitute as medical advice.
If you are experiencing symptoms, contact your doctor or make an appointment.

What are Hammertoes?

Hammertoe is when the second, third, and fourth toes bend at the first joint. As the problem progresses, the joints get rigid, and walking becomes difficult. There are several contributing factors to this condition, such as injury, footwear, and genetics. As a result, those with Hammertoe may experience different levels of severity and discomfort. There are several OTC treatments and prevention methods of Hammertoe. However, in more critical cases, surgery may be necessary. Learn more about Hammertoe here!

Causes of Hammertoes 

  • Hereditary: Some are born with a bone structure prone to Hammertoe. Similarly, those with a family history of this are more prone to having this condition. 
  • Imbalanced Foot Structure: Those with high arches, tightened foot tendons or ligaments, or an imbalance of the muscle structure of the toes can result in this deformity. 
  • Footwear: Wearing very narrow shoes or pointy that squeeze the toes together over a long period can cause hammertoes to develop. 
  • Arthritis: Those who have arthritis in the toe joint can lead to a Hammertoe after time. 
  • Thickened Layers of Skin: Callus, bunions, and corns can put repeated pressure on the toe and point them inwards. Over time, this repeated friction can cause pain. 

Symptoms of Hammertoes

  • There are both mild and severe symptoms of Hammertoes that can cause varying levels of pain. If you notice any indications of a Hammertoe, contact your podiatrist as soon as possible to get treatment early. Here are some telltale signs of this condition: 
  • Hammer-like Appearance of the Toes: When your toes bend upwards at the first joint, this is an implication of this deformity. The toes tend to look “claw-like”. 
  • Pain: Those with this condition often complain about pain on the top of the toes. Some may have difficulty walking or may have difficulty finding comfortable shoes. 
  • Toes have corns on the joint where they rub against the shoes
  • Swelling or Thickened Skin: Individuals may experience swelling at the joint. Additionally, corns or callus may form from repeated friction. 
  • Immobility: Patients with more severe cases find it difficult to wiggle or flex their toes. 

Treating Hammertoes

There are both at-home and medical treatments for hammertoes depending on the severity. Contact our office if you notice any of the above symptoms of a Hammertoe for easier treatment. 

At-Home Treatment  / Medical Treatments

  • Use an ice pack on the Hammertoe to decrease swelling
  • Use of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs to alleviate pain and swelling
  • Exercises to strengthen the muscles such as toe crunches
  • Hammertoe pads to cushion the feet
  • Orthotics recommended by our office 
  • Splinting or use of wedges to separate and straighten toes
  • Cortisone injections
  • Surgery


Hammertoe image with descriptions

Experiencing Symptoms?

Make an Appointment Now