What is Hammer Toe?

  • Deformity of second, third or fourth toes
  • May cause calluses or corns on the top of the middle joint of the toe or on the tip of the toe
  • Treated with non-surgical approach or with surgery

Ill-fitting shoes or a muscle imbalance are the most common causes of Hammer Toe. If there is an issue with a muscle in the second, third or fourth toes preventing them from straightening, Hammer Toe can result. If one of these toes is bent long enough in one position, the muscles tighten and cannot stretch out. Left untreated, surgery may be required.

Women are especially prone to developing Hammer Toe because of their shoes. Hammer Toe results from:

  • Shoes that don’t fit properly
  • Shoes that narrow toward the toe, pushing smaller toes into a bend position for extended periods of time
  • High heels that force the foot down into a narrow space, forcing the toes against the shoe, increasing the bend in the toe

Our Treatment Approach

Lumin OrthoCARE foot specialists have developed expertise in helping patients deal with Hammer Toe:

  • Conservative treatment is the first choice, often starting with a change of shoes to ones that have soft, larger toe spaces
  • Toe exercises may be prescribed to stretch and strengthen the toe muscles
  • Over-the-counter straps, cushions or non-medicated corn pads may be recommended to help relieve your symptoms
  • Surgery may be the treatment of choice if conservative approaches prove unsuccessful
  • Usually performed as an outpatient procedure, the specific surgery will depend on the type and extent of injury to the toe
  • Recovery my take several days or weeks and you may experience some redness, stiffness and swelling of the affected toe
  • Your physician will recommend taking it easy and to keep your foot elevated while you recover


  • Ill-fitting shoes that narrow at the toes
  • Tight, narrow, high-heeled shoes


  • Ill-fitting shoes that narrow at the toes
  • Tight, narrow, high-heeled shoes

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