Tuesday, 25 June 2024 00:00

Managing Hammertoe

A hammertoe is a foot deformity where toes become bent at the middle joint, typically affecting the second, third, or fourth toes. A hammertoe worsens over time due to muscle imbalance, often the result of wearing ill-fitting shoes. Shoes that are too narrow or have high heels force the toes into a bent position. This causes friction, pain, and the development of corns or calluses. Symptoms can include swelling, redness, or difficulty straightening the toe. Certain non-surgical approaches may be effective in early stages of hammertoe formation. These include wearing properly fitted shoes with a roomy toe box to alleviate pressure and allow toes to spread naturally. Exercises to stretch and strengthen toe muscles also may provide relief. Pads or cushions can be helpful, and may help to prevent further irritation. When the affected joint becomes rigid and non-flexible, surgical options like tendon lengthening or joint fusion may be necessary. If you have developed a hammertoe, it is suggested that you schedule an appointment with a podiatrist for an exam and treatment options.  


Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact one of our podiatrists from Centers for Foot & Ankle Care. Our doctors will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that affects the joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes of your feet. It is a painful foot condition in which these toes curl and arch up, which can often lead to pain when wearing footwear.


  • Pain in the affected toes
  • Development of corns or calluses due to friction
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Contracture of the toes


Genetics – People who are genetically predisposed to hammertoe are often more susceptible

Arthritis – Because arthritis affects the joints in your toes, further deformities stemming from arthritis can occur

Trauma – Direct trauma to the toes could potentially lead to hammertoe

Ill-fitting shoes – Undue pressure on the front of the toes from ill-fitting shoes can potentially lead to the development of hammertoe


Orthotics – Custom made inserts can be used to help relieve pressure placed on the toes and therefore relieve some of the pain associated with it

Medications – Oral medications such as anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs could be used to treat the pain and inflammation hammertoes causes. Injections of corticosteroids are also sometimes used

Surgery – In more severe cases where the hammertoes have become more rigid, foot surgery is a potential option

If you have any questions please contact one of our offices located in Merrillville, Portage, Michigan City/LaPorte, and Schererville, IN . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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