Hammer Toe

Foot & Ankle Specialist in the South Bay

Hammer toe is a deformity of the lesser toes (second, third, fourth, or fifth toes), in which the toe is bent at the middle joint so that it looks like a hammer. A hammer toe may be flexible or rigid.

Hammer toe most often results from wearing shoes that do not fit properly, particularly tight and compressive shoes such as high heels. It can also be caused by pressure created from a bunion. This is because tight and narrow shoes push lesser toes into a flexed position. When coupled with the weight of the body pushing toes forward even further, muscles in the toes can tighten and become unable to stretch out. In some cases, hammer toe may be genetic and caused by a nerve disorder.

Treatment Options

Hammer toe may be treated using conservative approaches or surgery:

Nonsurgical treatment

Shoe modifications are the most common treatment for hammer toe. Shoes with a large toe box can relieve pressure and provide more room to hammer toes. Hammer toe crests or splints may also be used to hold the hammer toe down and relieve pressure in the forefoot. Shoe inserts, including gel toe caps or shields, can also be used to reduce friction and provide comfort when walking.

Surgical treatment

When patients continue to experience debilitating pain despite conservative measures, such as taping or accommodative shoes, surgery may be an option. Correcting a hammer toe can typically be performed in an outpatient setting and procedures may vary depending on the extent of the deformity. Patients will generally be able to walk following surgery, but should avoid more strenuous activity while the toe heals.

Request an Appointment

Our foot and ankle specialist is available to help you learn more about treatment options for hammer toe. To request an appointment at one of our three South Bay locations, call us today.