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Facts About Hammertoes

A hammertoe is a deformity that usually develops on the second or third toe. It is caused by an imbalance between the muscles and tendons in the toe joint. This results in the middle joint rising up to form a peak. In and of itself, a hammertoe is not generally painful. The problem of pain arises when wearing shoes that may cause the raised knuckle of the toe to rub against the top of a shoe. Wearing shoes that do not fit properly along with genetics are the main contributors in the formation of a hammertoe. Shoes with a narrow toe box can force the toes into a flexed position. And the higher the heel, the more the toes are subject to increased pressure. After a while, the toes can no longer extend and they become rigid. This can result in painful corns or calluses. Besides changing your footwear, many patients with hammertoe deformities use orthotics to counteract the toe joint imbalance. In severe cases, surgery may be needed to correct the problem. It is suggested that you consult a podiatrist for an exam and suggested treatment options.

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact one of our podiatrists of Crosstown Podiatry. Our doctors 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 offices located in Wayne, Montclair, and Randolph, NJ . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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