Tuesday, 25 June 2024 00:00

Identifying Hammertoe and Its Causes

Hammertoe is a foot deformity where one or more of the smaller toes bend abnormally at the middle joint, resembling a hammer. This condition often results from an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally keep the toe straight. Common causes can include wearing ill-fitting shoes, especially those that are too tight or have high heels, which force the toe into a bent position. Other contributing factors include genetic predisposition, arthritis, and trauma to the toe. Symptoms of hammertoe include pain or irritation on the affected toe, especially when wearing shoes, as well as corns or calluses forming on the top of the joint due to friction. The affected toe may also become red, swollen, or stiff. Early detection is essential for effective treatment, which may involve changing footwear, using orthotic devices, and performing toe exercises. If you have developed a hammertoe, it is suggested that you consult a podiatrist who can offer you effective treatment options, which may include surgery for severe cases that can relieve pain and correct the deformity.


Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Richard P. Jacoby, DPM from Extremity Health Centers. Our doctor 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 Scottsdale and Buckeye, AZ . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about What Are Hammertoes?

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