How to Handle A Hammertoe

A hammertoe is a contracture deformity caused by a muscle and tendon imbalance of the joints in the 2nd-5th toe(s), which causes the middle joint to bend and become stuck in a curled position. There are two types of hammertoes: flexible, which means they are still movable at the joint, and rigid, which means the tendons have become tight, making surgery the usual course of treatment.

Common causes of hammertoes:

  • Inherited genes
  • Arthritis
  • Injury to the toe(s)
  • Ill-fitting shoes
  • Aging


Common symptoms of hammertoes:

  • Pain/irritation when wearing shoes.
  • Corns and calluses.
  • Inflammation, redness or a burning sensation.
  • Contracture of the toe.
  • In more severe cases of hammertoe, open sores may form.

Although hammertoes are readily apparent, they’re also progressive, too, which means they will not go away by themselves and usually get worse over time.

Conservative Treatments:

  • Trimming/padding corns and calluses.
  • Changes in shoewear.
  • Orthotic devices.
  • Injections/medications to reduce pain and inflammation.

If you have a hammertoe, it’s important to seek medical attention from a podiatrist quickly. Depending on the severity of your hammertoe(s), conservative treatments or a surgical route will be suggested in order to help relieve the pain and discomfort that has developed.

To learn more about hammertoes or to make an appointment with one of our podiatrists, please feel free to contact our office at (248)348-5300 or request an appointment on our website. Our physicians, Marc A. Borovoy, DPM, and John D. Miller, DPM, are experts in all areas of foot and ankle care, and will be happy to assist you with any problems you may be experiencing.

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