Hammer Toes

Hammer ToesDefinition
A hammer toe is a toe which is contracted (flexed) at the P.I.P. joint, rearmost toe joint. Tight ligaments and tendons curl the toe, which can be in any toe but usually not the big toe. This condition causes in many instances the toe to rub in the shoe and cause discomfort and pressure behind the affected toe(s) at the ball of the foot. This can lead to corns and callouses.


Typically caused by a muscle imbalance in which the flexor muscles overpower the extensor muscles over time. Arthritis or trauma also can cause this condition.

Treatment and Prevention

A shoe with a properly fitting deep toe box helps to accommodate the toe(s). Flexible and rigid hammer toes are relieved by comfort items such as hammer toe crests, silicone padded toe pads or cups, metatarsal pads and (or) orthotics can help off load painful areas. Gel or foam toe spacers prevent rubbing between the toes. Flexible hammer toes should be stretched, exercised and physically manipulated with the hands to help retain flexibility. If the problem persists consult your foot doctor