A Hammertoe is a deformity of the second, third or fourth toes. In this condition, the toe is bent at the middle joint, resembling a hammer. Left untreated, hammertoes can become inflexible and require surgery. People with hammertoes may have corns or calluses on the top of the middle joint of the toe or on the tip of the toe. They may also feel pain in their toes or feet and have difficulty finding comfortable shoes.

The condition can result from an imbalance in the muscles of the foot, or from wearing shoes that do not fit well.

Hammertoes can become stiff and possibly need surgical correction if untreated.

The symptoms of a hammer toe include the following:

  • Pain at the top of the bent toe upon pressure from footwear.
  • Formation of corns on the top of the joint.
  • Redness and swelling at the joint contracture.
  • Restricted or painful motion of the toe joint.
  • Pain in the ball of the foot at the base of the affected toe.

Your podiatrist can recommend treatment options, which may include:

  • Shoes with soft, roomy toe boxes.
  • Toe exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles.
  • Commercially available straps, cushions or non-medicated corn pads.
  • Surgery may be required.
  • Contact a podiatrist to discuss treatment options for your hammertoes.