What is Hammertoe

Hammertoes, sometimes also known as claw toe or mallet toe, can occur in the second, third, or fourth toe, though generally the second toe is most commonly affected. Women are the most frequent sufferers of hammertoes. In fact the American Orthopedic, Foot and Ankle Society says that women have about ninety percent of all surgeries for common problems, such as bunions and hammertoes. So what causes Hammertoes and how can they be best treated?


Hammertoes can be caused by shoes that are too short and tight, or shoes that are narrow and pointed. They can also be caused as a result of a bunion, which slants the big toe towards and under the second toe, thus pushing the toe up and making it virtually useless. Some contracted toes are caused by muscle imbalance, birth defects, injury, or arthritis, but most are due to ill-fitting shoes.


The symptoms of hammertoes are numerous and often painful. The tendons contract and joints become deformed as the toe is forced back by ill-fitting shoes. The toe(s) then assume a hook or claw like position and occasionally even cross over each other in an attempt to find space in the crowded shoe. Additionally, two further foot maladies can accompany hammertoes. A callus will usually then form under the metatarsal head and subsequently, a hard corn will form on top of the bend in the shoe where is is likely to rub against your shoe. Soft corns can also form between the toes where the skin is pinched. This is both disfiguring and painful!

Treatment by your podiatrist in Plano

As ever the golden rule is that prevention is better than cure wherever possible. It is therefore crucial that shoe wear be changed so as to promote increased foot comfort and health. If not, then it is likely at a later date surgery will become a distinct possibility. Foot health should never be sacrificed for the sake of following fashion. Ask yourself the following serious question – what do i really want – surgery or those shoes, surgery or those shoes?

The proper shoe to wear if you have hammertoes is one with a deep toe box and a rounded shape like the toes and of a soft composition. It should be wider in the forefoot than the heel and higher in the toe box, not flat as most shoes.

Once again – To prevent hammertoes it is essential that you wear shoes that fit correctly! This is perhaps a simple instruction but truly one that your feet will be eternally grateful for!

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