Dealing With Hammertoes

Hammertoe is a deformity that is usually found in the second toe. It is caused by an imbalance of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that work together to make the toe straight. The result is that the middle joint of the toe raises up to form a peak, while the tip of the toe curls under. The type of shoes you wear, foot structure, and genetics all can contribute to the formation of a hammertoe. Women who wear high heels with pointy toes and children who wear shoes that are too short for their feet are more at risk of developing a hammertoe. Some people are simply born that way. Pain from a hammertoe occurs when the raised joint rubs against the inside of the top of the shoe. A corn or callus can develop, which may affect the gait and can increase pain in other parts of the foot and the body.  A podiatrist can give you options for treating a hammertoe. Devices called hammertoe regulators can be custom fitted to help straighten the toe. Gentle exercises, such as picking up a towel with your toes can stretch and straighten the small muscles of the feet. In severe cases, surgery can be performed to permanently straighten the toe. For details on treatment options, please consult a podiatrist. 


Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact one of our podiatrists from The Foot and Ankle Associates of North Carolina, PLLC. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality treatment.

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that affects the joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes of your feet. It is a painful foot condition in which these toes curl and arch up, which can often lead to pain when wearing footwear.


  • Pain in the affected toes
  • Development of corns or calluses due to friction
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Contracture of the toes


Genetics – People who are genetically predisposed to hammertoe are often more susceptible

Arthritis – Because arthritis affects the joints in your toes, further deformities stemming from arthritis can occur

Trauma – Direct trauma to the toes could potentially lead to hammertoe

Ill-fitting shoes – Undue pressure on the front of the toes from ill-fitting shoes can potentially lead to the development of hammertoe


Orthotics – Custom-made inserts can be used to help relieve pressure placed on the toes and therefore relieve some of the pain associated with it

Medications – Oral medications such as anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs could be used to treat the pain and inflammation hammertoes causes. Injections of corticosteroids are also sometimes used

Surgery – In more severe cases where the hammertoes have become more rigid, foot surgery is a potential option

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Ahoskie, Durham, Raleigh, and Rocky Mount, NC. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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