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Do you have an abnormal bend in the middle joint of your toe? Is it stuck in a painful upside-down "V" position? If so, you may be experiencing a hammertoe.

A hammertoe is a foot condition that occurs due to an imbalance in the muscles or ligaments around a toe joint. The muscle imbalance puts a lot of pressure on the toe's tendons and joints, which forces the toe into the hammerhead shape. It most often affects your middle three toes.

Hammertoe Symptoms

A hammertoe usually starts out as a mild deformity and gets progressively worse over time. Therefore, you should seek medical treatment as soon as symptoms become apparent. Common symptoms include:

  • Contracture of affected toe
  • Pain and difficulty moving bent toe
  • Inflammation, redness or burning sensation
  • Corns and calluses from toe rubbing against inside of shoes
  • Pain in ball of foot (under bent toe)
  • Open sores (in severe cases)

Hammertoe Risk Factors

Women are more likely to experience hammertoes than men because of their choice of shoe (ex. high heels). Hammertoes also can be a serious problem in people with diabetes or poor circulation since they have a higher risk for infections and foot ulcers.

Other factors that can increase your risk of hammertoe include:

  • Toe injury
  • Genes
  • Arthritis
  • Aging

Hammertoe Treatment

Hammertoes won’t improve without intervention, so contact a Summa orthopedic specialist as soon as you notice symptoms.

There are several treatment options that vary according to how severe the hammertoe, from shoe padding and inserts to cortisone injections. The physician may also recommend foot exercises to help restore muscle balance. If the hammertoe isn’t resolved with the above methods, surgery may be needed.

Summa Foot and Ankle Specialist

Jeffrey Junko, M.D.


Options to Request an Appointment

If your situation is an emergency, call 911.