Did you know that hammertoes are associated with other underlying foot problems that can worsen over time? Hammertoes also usually get worse over time! 

Hammertoes are a common foot deformity that

can cause discomfort and affect your mobility. This condition is characterized

by the abnormal bending of the middle joint of one or more toes, creating a

hammer-like appearance. In this informational blog, we’ll explore what hammer toes are, what causes them, and various treatment options available.

What Are Hammertoes?

Hammertoes occur when there is an imbalance

in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that normally keep the toe straight. The

deformity can affect any toe, but most commonly affects all four lesser toes.

Hammer toes are often associated with other foot problems like bunions, calluses, and ball of the foot pain.


  1. Muscle Imbalances: One of the primary causes of hammer toes is an imbalance in the muscles, which control the position of the toes. When the muscles become imbalanced, they can cause the toe to contract abnormally. This is generally caused by your foot type and the way pressure is applied to your feet when standing and walking.
  2. Genetics: Some people may be genetically predisposed to develop hammer toes. If a family member has this condition, you may be more likely to experience it as well. This is primarily due to your genetic foot type (flat foot or high arches).
  3. Arthritis: Certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can contribute to the development of hammer toes.

Treatment Options:

  1. Footwear Changes: Switching to shoes with a roomy toe box and low heels can help alleviate pressure on the toes and prevent the condition from worsening.
  2. Toe Exercises: Performing exercises to stretch and strengthen the toe muscles can help improve flexibility and reduce the severity of hammer toes. This is most effective as prevention.
  3. Orthotic Devices: Custom-made shoe inserts or orthotic devices can help to stabilize an unbalanced foot, reducing forces which lead to hammertoe development.
  4. Padding and Taping: Using padding and taping techniques can help relieve pressure on the affected toes and prevent rubbing against the inside of your shoes.
  5. Surgery: When conservative measures fail, surgical intervention to restore normal toe alignment can be accomplished through minimally invasive measures. Dr. Walimire performs incision-less hammertoe repair in the office with only a few days of rest to recover. The procedure is typically painless and allows return to function very quickly! He also performs revisional hammertoe repair when previous surgery has failed or resulted in deformed toes. No matter how severe, we can improve your condition significantly with very little downtime.

Understanding the causes and treatment options for hammer toes is essential for managing this common foot condition. If you suspect of having this condition or deal with foot discomfort. Give our team a call (239) 204-5602 and we’d be more than happy to help. Taking early steps to address hammer toes can improve your foot health and overall quality of life.

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