Hammertoe: Symptoms, Causes, and TreatmentAt JAWS podiatry, we see and treat a wide range of foot and ankle problems. But few issues are as painful, frustrating and debilitating as hammertoe. Fortunately, hammertoe is almost always treatable. It can often be addressed by changing footwear, using protective padding, and reducing calluses. Sometimes, however, surgery may be the most advisable and practical treatment option for severe cases.

What is Hammertoe?

Hammertoes and related deformities are unsightly contractures of the joints of the lesser toes (all toes except the big toe). The second toe is the most frequently affected. Hammertoe causes the affected toes to bend or curl downward instead of facing straight ahead as they should.

That downward curl is perhaps the most apparent symptom of hammertoe, along with corns or calluses, difficulty walking, or being unable to flex your foot or wiggle your toes.

Hammertoe comes in two distinct types:

  • Flexible hammertoes. These are toes which are in the developmental stage of hammertoe and can still be moved at the joint.
  • Rigid hammertoes. These are a more severe problem, as the tendons have tightened to such an extreme degree that the joints become misaligned and immobile.

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