Hammer Toes

Hammer toe is a deformity of the toe, in which the end of the toe is bent downward. Hammer toe usually affects the second toe, although it may also affect the other toes.

The toe goes into a claw-like position. The condition may occur as a result of pressure from a bunion. A corn on the top of a toe and a callus on the sole of the foot develop, which makes walking painful.


The condition may be present at birth (congenital) or develop from wearing short, narrow shoes. Hammer toe also occurs in children who continue to wear shoes they have outgrown.

A hammertoe may be flexible or rigid, and may occur on any of the lesser toes. Ligaments and tendons that have tightened cause the joints to buckle, cocking the toe upward. Shoes then rub on the prominent portion of toes, leading to inflammation or bursitis. Corns and calluses soon form.

During the early stages, a hammertoe remains flexible, meaning it will straighten when pressure is applied to the buckled area. As time passes, the toe can become permanently buckled or rigid, requiring surgery for correction. Painful calluses on the bottom of the foot may accompany rigid hammertoes because of pressure generated on the joint. This will lead to the formation of corns and make the treatment more complicated.

Diagnosis And Treatment

In some cases, usually when the hammertoe has become more rigid and painful, or when an open sore has developed, surgery is needed.

If you have hammer toe, call for an appointment with your health care provider for instructions on the best treatment.

In selecting the procedure or combination of procedures for your particular case, our Doctors will take into consideration the extent of your deformity, the number of toes involved, your age, your activity level, and other factors. The length of the recovery period will vary, depending on the procedure or procedures performed.