Hammertoes: Understanding the Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

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Hammertoes: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Hammertoes are a common foot deformity that can affect people of all ages. They occur when the toes bend downward at the middle joint, resembling a hammer. Hammertoes can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Genetics: Some people are more likely to develop hammertoes due to the shape of their feet.
  • Ill-fitting shoes: Wearing shoes that are too tight or too high-heeled can put pressure on the toes and cause them to bend.
  • Certain medical conditions: Hammertoes can also be a symptom of certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis, and nerve damage.

Symptoms of hammertoes include:

  • Pain: Hammertoes can cause pain when walking or wearing shoes. The pain may be worse at the end of the day or after prolonged periods of standing.
  • Stiffness: Hammertoes can make it difficult to bend or straighten the toes. This can make it difficult to walk or wear certain types of shoes.
  • Corns and calluses: Hammertoes can cause corns and calluses to form on the toes. These corns and calluses can be painful and make it difficult to walk.

Hammertoes can be treated with a variety of methods, including:

  • Conservative treatment: Conservative treatment for hammertoes includes wearing comfortable shoes, using orthotics, and performing exercises to stretch the toes.
  • Surgery: Surgery is an option for hammertoes that do not respond to conservative treatment. Surgery involves straightening the toes and releasing the tendons that are causing them to bend.


There is no sure way to prevent hammertoes, but there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of developing them, such as:

  • Wear comfortable shoes: Choose shoes that fit well and provide good support. Avoid wearing shoes that are too tight or too high-heeled.
  • Stretch your toes: Regularly stretch your toes to help keep them flexible.
  • See your doctor: If you have any symptoms of hammertoes, see your doctor. Early treatment can help prevent the condition from getting worse.


The outlook for hammertoes is generally good. With proper treatment, most people are able to relieve their pain and improve their mobility.

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