What are hammertoes?

Hammertoes are deformities of the toes where the toes are bent downwards.  There are two types of hammertoes:

Flexible hammertoes

The joints of the toes can still move and the toes can straighten out.

Rigid hammertoes

The joints in the toes are not able to move, and the toes are stiff.

What are the symptoms of hammertoes?

Pain on top of the joints of the toes with pressure from shoes.

Corns on top of the joints of the toes.

Blisters on top of the toes.

Corns inbetween toes.

Stiffness of the toes.

What causes hammertoes?

Improperly fitting shoes can contribute to hammertoe formation, especially pointy-toed and high-heeled shoes.

Bunions cause the great toe to put pressure onto the smaller toes and contribute to hammertoe formation.

High-arched feet can cause hammertoes due to tendon imbalance.

Low-arched feet can cause hammertoes because the toes grasp the ground trying to stabilize the foot.

Medical problems such as strokes, polio, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disorders, and arthritis can also cause hammertoes.

How to know if you have hammertoes:

It is important to be evaluated in order to determine if you have flexible or rigid hammertoes, and what kinds of treatment options are best for you.  X-rays are needed in the weight-bearing position to evaluate the extent of the deformity and determine if conservative care is enough for treatment or if surgery is needed.

How to prevent hammertoes from developing:


To help better prevent yourself from getting hammertoes, it’s recommended that you wear shoes with adequate room for the toes. Footwear with low heels, as well as adjustable straps or laces, can be useful when it comes to providing your feet with ample room to move. Buying shoes that fit are also important, which is why we recommend shopping at the end of the day when your feet are at their largest. This helps you avoid choosing shoes too small for your feet.

Custom orthotics

Orthotics, as well as padding for corns and calluses that may develop due to your hammertoe, are recommended to help relieve discomfort and prevent hammertoes from worsening. 

Non-medicated corn pads

Do not use medicated corn pads for your corns and callouses, they consist of acid that burns through the skin, and do not treat the problem. 


Light toe exercises may also be helpful for strengthening the muscles and mobility of your toes.

For a proper diagnosis and recommended treatment plan, call our office for professional help and care.