A hammertoe deformity is characterized by one or more of your middle toes abnormally bending at the joints, causing the toe to take on the shape of a hammer, hence the name. Because of the rubbing of the bent toe on your footwear, you may also notice corns, calluses, and other problems like blistersforming in response.


Hammertoes result from an imbalance between the tendon and muscle that usually hold the toe in the correct position. The imbalance can be inherited and is often exacerbated by wearing high heeled shoes or ones that don’t offer enough arch support. Damage to the foot from an accident or injury or from arthritic complications can also cause or exacerbate hammertoes.

Hammertoes do not improve on their own, so it is important to visit your foot care professional for treatment.

Conservative treatments for hammertoes include:

The right shoes—Low heeled shoes with a roomy toe box will help relieve the pressure that is contributing to the bending of the toe.
Strapping and splinting—These devices can be used to realign the bent toes.
Medications—Steroid injections and anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or other medications can reduce pain and swelling.
Stretching—Exercises such as picking up small stones with your toes can help increase strength and flexibility.
Orthotics—Specially-fabricated shoe inserts can control the imbalance between the muscle and tendon that is causing the toe to bend in the first place.
Isolation pads—Corns and calluses can be cushioned to eliminate the source of rubbing.
If your hammertoes are very rigid or painful, surgery may be necessary to straighten them out. This can usually be performed on an outpatient basis by your foot care specialist, so be sure to consult with our board-certified podiatristsat Foot and Ankle Center of Fort Lee, LLC. The center offers convenient locationsin Fort Lee NJ, Ringwood NJ, Flushing Queens NY, Woodhaven NY, Brooklyn NY, and Forest Hills NY. Contact us at (201) 363-9844 and schedule an appointmenttoday!

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