How Hammertoe Occurs

Many people do not think twice about their toes until a foot condition develops. Hammertoe is one such condition that is considered to be a deformity. An imbalance of the toes can cause the second and third toes to bend downward at the middle joint, resembling the shape of a hammer. The toes contribute to maintaining balance and pushing off while walking. Hammertoe may develop from wearing shoes that do not have adequate room for the toes to move freely. When high heels are frequently worn, the toes may gradually bend to fit into the narrow toe box, causing a hammertoe. Additionally, blisters may form on the affected toes due to friction as they rub against the top of the shoes. Existing medical conditions like arthritis, bunions, and high or low arches may lead to the development of hammertoe. Relief may be found when the shoes have ample room for the toes. It can also be beneficial to wear a protective pad over the affected toes. Surgery may be suggested in severe cases to obtain permanent straightening. Please consult a podiatrist who can determine the best course of treatment.

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact one of our podiatrists of Advanced Foot & Ankle Medical Center . Our doctors will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.


Hammertoe is a foot deformity that occurs due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight. It can be caused by the type of shoes you wear, your foot structure, trauma, and certain disease processes.


  • Painful and/or difficult toe movement
  • Swelling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Calluses/Corns
  • Physical deformity

Risk Factors

  • Age – The risk of hammertoe increases with age
  • Sex – Women are more likely to have hammertoe compared to men
  • Toe Length – You are more likely to develop hammertoe if your second toe is longer than your big toe
  • Certain Diseases – Arthritis and diabetes may make you more likely to develop hammertoe


If you have hammertoe, you should change into a more comfortable shoe that provides enough room for your toes. Exercises such as picking up marbles may strengthen and stretch your toe muscles. Nevertheless, it is important to seek assistance from a podiatrist in order to determine the severity of your hammertoe and see which treatment option will work best for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Thousand Oaks, CA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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