Tuesday, 30 January 2024 00:00

Definition and Causes of Hammertoe

Hammertoe, a common foot ailment, unfolds as a deformity characterized by an abnormal bending of the toe joints. The condition primarily affects the second, third, or fourth toe, causing it to resemble a hammer's curved shape. One of the key causes of hammertoe is an imbalance in the muscles and tendons that control toe movement, leading to joint misalignment. Wearing ill-fitting shoes with narrow or high toe boxes can exacerbate the problem, cramping the toes and impeding their natural movement. Additionally, genetic predisposition and certain medical conditions, such as arthritis or diabetes, may increase susceptibility to developing hammertoe. Understanding the definition and underlying causes of hammer toe is essential for early intervention. If you have developed hammertoe, it is suggested that you visit a podiatrist who can guide you toward successful treatment and prevention methods.


Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Dr. Kenneth Donovan from Advanced Care Foot and Ankle. Our doctor will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that affects the joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes of your feet. It is a painful foot condition in which these toes curl and arch up, which can often lead to pain when wearing footwear.


  • Pain in the affected toes
  • Development of corns or calluses due to friction
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Contracture of the toes


Genetics – People who are genetically predisposed to hammertoe are often more susceptible

Arthritis – Because arthritis affects the joints in your toes, further deformities stemming from arthritis can occur

Trauma – Direct trauma to the toes could potentially lead to hammertoe

Ill-fitting shoes – Undue pressure on the front of the toes from ill-fitting shoes can potentially lead to the development of hammertoe


Orthotics – Custom made inserts can be used to help relieve pressure placed on the toes and therefore relieve some of the pain associated with it

Medications – Oral medications such as anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs could be used to treat the pain and inflammation hammertoes causes. Injections of corticosteroids are also sometimes used

Surgery – In more severe cases where the hammertoes have become more rigid, foot surgery is a potential option

If you have any questions please contact one of our offices located in Warren, Livingston, and Toms River, NJ . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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