What Are Hammertoes?

A hammertoe may occur on any toe and is a deformity which causes the toes to become contracted. It usually begins as a flexible problem, but may become fixed or rigid later. They usually grow progressively worse as time goes on. Often, a corn will develop on the hammertoe, which can cause it to become very painful. Calluses can also develop on the bottom of the foot in association with a hammertoe.

A hammertoe will often be painful in tight shoes, but can become painful in any shoe if left long enough, and will sometimes rub against adjacent toes. Initially, simply changing shoes may be helpful, but generally this is not a long-term solution to the problem. Symptoms are usually pain directly over the toe or at the end of the toe in shoes. Sometimes an area of redness or ulceration will also appear.

What Causes Hammertoes?

Like bunions, shoes can certainly aggravate a hammertoe; however, they are usually not the actual cause of the deformity. The most common underlying cause of a hammertoe deformity is hereditary foot structure or injury. There are certain other conditions, such as arthritis, that may also cause hammertoes to develop.

What Can I Do About My Hammertoes?

If you are worried that you may have hammertoes that are causing significant pain, the first step is to make an appointment with your podiatrist. The foot doctors at Raleigh Foot & Ankle Center will start with taking a complete history and performing a foot and ankle examination, taking care to evaluate footwear and sometimes even taking x-rays. Typically, conservative treatment is initially attempted and is often successful; however, sometimes surgery is necessary to treat hammertoes.

Conservative treatment approaches for hammertoes can include alteration of footgear, over-the-counter or prescription pads and cushions to offer relief, orthotic shoe inserts to prevent the hammertoe from worsening, or regular trimming of corns and calluses associated with hammertoes.

If you are tired of dealing with the pain caused by your hammertoe, talk to one of the foot doctors at Raleigh Foot & Ankle Center. The doctors and staff will be happy to help you find the best solution for your feet, to relieve your toes of their pain and to get you back on your feet, pain free.


To schedule an appointment for hammertoe treatment, please call our office at (919) 850-9111. We serve patients from Raleigh, Cary and Wake Forest, NC as well as Wake County, Johnston County and surrounding areas in and around the Raleigh-Durham Area and the rest of North Carolina. Hablamos Español.