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A hammer toe is a bending of the toe at the first joint, called the proximal interphalangeal joint. This bending causes the toe to look like an upside-down V.  Any toe can be affected, but the condition usually affects the second through fifth toes.  A flexible hammer toes is still able to bend, while a rigid hammer toe is immobile. Sometimes more than one toe joint may be bent resulting in a double hammertoe or “claw” toe- the treatment options for this deformity are the same for hammertoes.

What causes a hammertoe?

  • A hammer toe develops because of an abnormal balance of the muscles and tendons controlling the toes.  This can be caused by a faulty foot structure (excess pronation or too high of an arch) or due to muscle weakness higher up in the leg.   

  • Heredity

  • Trauma

  • Wearing shoes that are too tight 

  • Neuropathy

What are the symptoms of a hammertoe?

  • Bending of the toe (looks like upside down V) 

  • Pain or corns forming on the top of the joint or the tip of the toe.

  • Painful motion of the toe joint

  • Pain on the ball of the foot 

How can I treat my hammertoe at home?

While you won’t be able to “cure your hammertoe, there are many things you can try to decrease your pain.

  • Apply a non-medicated hammer toe pad around the bony prominences of the toe

  • Wear a shoe with a wide toe box and avoid wearing socks or shoes that are too tight

  • Rest and ice

  • Over-the-counter pain medication

When to make an appointment at Fulshear Foot and Ankle?

  • If the above treatments aren’t working to control your pain or if your hammertoe deformities are worsening and becoming more rigid. 

How are hammertoes diagnosed?

  • Dr. Amin and Dr. Hurwitz always start by listening to your concerns and performing a thorough physical examination. 

  • X-rays are often required

What is the Treatment for hammertoes?

The treatment options vary with the type and severity of each hammer toe, but your treatment options may include: 

  • Prescription anti inflammatory or steroid injections to help decrease pain and inflamation

  • Padding and taping to help offload pressure from the painful joints

  • Custom orthotics can often be helpful by helping to control abnormal foot function

  • If conservative measures do not work, surgical correction of the hammertoes may be required.