What is a Hammertoe?

  • A hammertoe is a deformity of the second, third or fourth toe. In this condition, the toe is bent at the middle joint, so that it resembles a hammer. Initially, hammertoes are flexible but if left untreated, they can become fixed and may require surgery. Painful corns or calluses may develop on the top of the middle joint of the toe or on the tip of the toe from rubbing against the shoes.


  • Hammertoes result from tendon and muscle imbalance. This biomechanical imbalance can be triggered by structure of the foot, such as flat or high arch foot. For example, over-pronation will change the angle of pull of the tendons on the bottom of the foot, causing contracting of the toes.


  • Difficulty putting on a shoe due to the pain at the bent toe
  • Corns or calluses forms on the top and tip of the toe
  • Fixed joints of the toe
  • Redness and swelling of the toe joint


  • Wearing wide toe-box shoes and padding will help to relieve the painful pressure. Corns and calluses can be removed by a podiatrist in the office. To correct the biomechanical imbalance, customized orthotics can be prescribed. For rigid hammertoes, minor surgical procedures can be done to correct the deformity.