A hammertoe is a deformity of the toe in which the toe is bent at the middle joint, causing it to resemble an inverted V or a hammer. Although any toe is susceptible to becoming a hammertoe, the condition most commonly appears in the second, third, or fourth toes. Left untreated, hammertoes can become inflexible and require surgery to correct.

Causes of Hammertoe

  • Arthritis
  • Heredity
  • Muscle imbalance
  • Trauma to the toe
  • Wearing shoes that fit too tightly

Symptoms of Hammertoe

  • Corns and calluses on the top of the toe's middle joint or on the tip of the toe
  • Difficulty in finding comfortable shoes
  • Pain in the toes

Treatments for Hammertoe

  • Steroid injection therapy, which can sometimes reduce inflammation at the joint
  • Surgery, for the most severe cases
  • Using commercially available straps, cushions, or nonmedicated corn pads
  • Wearing shoes with soft, roomy toe boxes that allow you to stretch your toes and strengthen their muscles

Prevention of Hammertoe

  • Have someone treat you to a foot massage--doctor's orders!
  • Keep your feet up when sitting down
  • Wear appropriate shoes that are comfortable; custom-made orthotics , available at New Orleans Podiatry Associates, may also slow the progress of hammertoes

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