What Is a Hammer Toe? – Know the Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Methods


Toes play a crucial role in standing and walking. Although they are small, they help to maintain the balance. A painful toe can affect walking, standing, and throwing gait. A hammer toe is one of the most common deformities that cause the toe to curl or bend downwards.

If you want to take the best toe treatment in Irvine, California, you must consider visiting a professional foot doctor, Dr. Sima Soltani. She is expertise in treating different types of toe problems, including hammer toes, mallet toes, clew toes, and more, at affordable prices.

About hammer toes

Hammer toes generally occur in people who have an abnormal bend at the PIP joint (proximal interphalangeal). It affects the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th toe. Also, it commonly appears in women.


Hammer toes may appear during birth, but they may also develop over time due to other reasons.

They include:

  • Arthritis
  • Wearing pointed or tight heels
  • Injury to toe
  • Tightened tendons or ligaments
  • Bunion pressure


The symptoms of hammer toes will be severe or mild. It causes discomfort and pain while moving the feet or walking.

  • Toe bends downwards
  • Calluses, corns, or blisters
  • Difficulty to walk
  • Inability to wiggles or flex the toes

Risk factors

There are a few risk factors that increase the chances of developing hammer toes, such as

  • Too low or too high arch
  • Family history of having hammer toes
  • Having arthritis, bunions, corns, or calluses

Wearing small shoes will place the toe joint in an abnormal position, which makes it impossible to stretch the muscles. So, wearing ill-fitted heels or shoes may increase the risk of causing hammer toes, bunions, corns, calluses, and blisters.

Treatment for hammer toes

There are many treatment methods to treat hammer toes. From those, you can choose the right one based on the severity of the condition.

Mild hammer toes

In case, you have mild hammer toes, you can follow a few strategies to make them correct. They are:

  • Use shoes that provide at least ½ inch space between shoe tip and the longest toe
  • Wear insoles or toe pads to correct the high arch condition
  • Ask your doctor to prescribe shoes that lessen pressure over the toes
  • Exercise the toes like stretching and flexing the toes, picking up things, etc
  • Soak the feet in the water and remove a callus with a pumice stone

Severe hammer toes

If you are finding it difficult to flex the toes, hammer toes surgery is one of the best solutions to restore the movement. A surgical procedure helps to reposition your toe, realign joints and tendons, and remove the injured or deformed bone. In general, hammer toes surgery is a minor procedure, so the patient can return to the home the same day.

After the procedure, the hammer toes go away normally without causing any complications. Early intervention and diagnosis help to prevent the other toes from getting deformed.

Many podiatry clinics offer the best podiatrist service, choose the best one, and consult today to reposition the toes.

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