Tuesday, 21 May 2024 00:00

Diagnosis and Causes of Hammertoe

Hammertoe, a condition affecting the toes, manifests as an abnormal bend in one or more joints, resembling a hammer's shape. This deformity typically occurs in the second, third, or fourth toe, leading to discomfort and difficulty while wearing shoes. Causes of hammertoe vary, with prominent factors including prolonged wearing of ill-fitting footwear, toe injuries, muscle imbalance, and conditions like arthritis. Diagnosing hammertoe involves a physical examination by a podiatrist, who assesses the toe's flexibility, alignment, and range of motion. Additionally, X-rays may be performed to confirm the diagnosis and evaluate the severity of the deformity. Early detection is essential, as untreated hammertoe can worsen over time, leading to chronic pain and mobility issues. Once diagnosed, treatment options may include orthotic devices, toe exercises, shoe modifications, and in severe cases, surgery to correct the toe's alignment. If you have a hammertoe, it is strongly suggested that you consult a podiatrist who can determine the best course of treatment for you.


Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Philip C. Caswell, DPM from Family Foot & Ankle Care. 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 our office located in Sparta, NJ . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about What Are Hammertoes?

Connect With Us