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Causes and Treatment of Hammertoe

Tuesday, 09 July 2024 00:00

Hammertoe occurs when the muscles around the toe joints contract, causing the toe to bend downward at the middle joint, resembling a hammer. This can lead to significant discomfort and the formation of calluses and corns due to friction. Often, it affects the second toe, especially in cases where it is longer than the big toe, leading to pressure and trauma within tight or ill-fitting shoes. High heels and shoes with a narrow toe box can worsen the condition by exerting extra pressure on the toes. Genetic predisposition, bunions, and physical injuries, such as stubbing or nerve damage, can also contribute to the development of hammertoe. Treatment options vary depending on the severity and flexibility of the toe. For mild cases, a podiatrist might suggest wearing shoes with a wider toe box, using adhesive gel pads, or inserting orthotic devices to alleviate pressure. In more severe cases where the toe becomes rigid and painful, surgical intervention may be necessary to restore normal alignment. If you are experiencing pain from a hammertoe, it is suggested that you make an appointment with a podiatrist for an exam and treatment.

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Dr. Janet Leicht of New Jersey. Our doctor will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.


Hammertoe is a foot deformity that occurs due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight. It can be caused by the type of shoes you wear, your foot structure, trauma, and certain disease processes.


  • Painful and/or difficult toe movement
  • Swelling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Calluses/Corns
  • Physical deformity

Risk Factors

  • Age – The risk of hammertoe increases with age
  • Sex – Women are more likely to have hammertoe compared to men
  • Toe Length – You are more likely to develop hammertoe if your second toe is longer than your big toe
  • Certain Diseases – Arthritis and diabetes may make you more likely to develop hammertoe


If you have hammertoe, you should change into a more comfortable shoe that provides enough room for your toes. Exercises such as picking up marbles may strengthen and stretch your toe muscles. Nevertheless, it is important to seek assistance from a podiatrist in order to determine the severity of your hammertoe and see which treatment option will work best for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Berkeley Heights, NJ . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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