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What is a hammer toe?

A hammer toe is a toe that is unnaturally contracted at the joint, forming a claw-like appearance that can cause discomfort and friction, as well as corns and calluses. Hammer toes occur because the tendons and muscles cause irregular pressure against the bone of the toe, forcing it into a bent, cramped position. Hammer toes can be rigid or flexible at the joint; each type requires a different approach for proper treatment.


  • Second, third and/or fourth toes curled in, pointing downward
  • Toe joints appear swollen
  • Toe pain while walking
  • Corns and/or calluses on toes
  • Open sores, inflammation, redness
  • See a qualified professional for a definitive diagnosis
Hammer Toes

What causes hammer toes?

Hammer toes can occur in any toe. Women are more prone to develop hammer toes because of the shoes worn. They can also be caused by an inherited foot type or stance, such as flat feet or high arches. Injury, ill-fitting shoes, and arthritis can also cause hammertoes to form. Hammer toes also frequently occur in people with poor circulation due to diabetes or other causes. Each toe has a pair of muscles that helps it move and provides stability. When these muscles or the tendons and ligaments that connect them to other muscles and bones are out of balance, the force on the toe shifts, causing it to curl or buckle.

How are hammer toes treated?

Hammer toes can be treated in an outpatient procedure that helps rebalance the forces pulling on the toe and its joint. The most common approach involves one or more small incisions. Dr. Glass can remodel the tendons on the top and bottom of the foot. Once the tendons are remodeled, a tiny cut is made in the bone or joint of the toe enabling the joint to be realigned. Once the joint is in its proper position, the toe can be straightened. Once the procedure is over, a post-surgical shoe will need to be worn for about a week during healing.

How Can We Help You Today?

Why suffer pain and rigid toes when you can be in and out of surgery in less than two hours, and drive yourself home? Let us know how we can help you by scheduling your appointment today.

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