What is Hammertoe?

hammertoes deformity

Hammertoes are a deformity of the toes, usually the second, third, or fourth toes, where there’s bend at the middle joint; causing them to look like a hammer. This condition maybe caused by a muscle imbalance which puts pressure on the tendons and joints of the toe, leading to its contracted, or bent, position. The deformity can be flexible (where you can still move the toe at the joint) or rigid (where the joint is immobile).

Hammertoes can lead to discomfort and pain, especially when wearing shoes, as the bent toe might rub against the shoe. Over time, this can result in the formation of corns or calluses. Treatment options depend on the severity and flexibility of the hammertoe. They range from simple changes in footwear and orthotic devices to help redistribute pressure away from the affected toes, to exercises aimed at strengthening toe muscles. In some cases, surgery might be necessary to correct the deformity.

Major Causes of Hammertoes?

Experiencing Foot or Ankle Pain?

We’re here to help! Contact our friendly staff and connect with our expert doctors

Signs and Symptoms of Hammertoes

Pain in closed shoes

Discomfort or pain when wearing closed-toe shoes. The shoes put pressure on the deformed toe, leading to increased pain, which can be a constant dull ache or sharp pain, especially when wearing tight or narrow footwear

Knuckles of the toes are prominent

The middle joint of the toe bulges outward, making the knuckles more pronounced. This is due to the toe bending abnormally at this joint, leading to a noticeable protrusion which can be easily felt and seen

Redness and swelling over the toe knuckle

There's inflammation at the affected joint. The skin around the toe knuckle may appear reddened and feel tender to the touch, often a result of the continuous rubbing and pressure from footwear

Toes start to overlap each other

In more advanced cases of hammertoe, the affected toes may start to overlap with adjacent toes. This is caused by the progressive bending of the toe, altering the natural alignment and potentially leading to more complex foot deformities

Hard skin over the toe

Known as corns or calluses, this thickened skin forms over the toe due to persistent friction and pressure. Corns typically develop on the top and sides of the toe where it rubs against the shoe, while calluses may form on the sole of the foot

Open Sores

In advanced or severe cases of hammertoe, particularly among individuals with diabetes or poor circulation, open sores or ulcers can develop on the affected toe

Hammertoes Treatment

Experiencing Foot or Ankle Pain?

We’re here to help! Contact our friendly staff and connect with our expert doctors

We treat feet podiatry has been proud to serve the Maryland area’s Foot & Ankle needs for over 15 years! From bunions to twisted ankles to diabetic wound care and everything in between.

Our experienced team is dedicated to get you back on feet again!