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Causes and Symptoms of Hammertoe

Monday, 01 June 2020 00:00

A common foot condition that affects the toes is referred to as hammertoe. The middle joint in the second toe curls up, forcing the end of the toe to bend downward. The affected toe can resemble a hammer, and additional symptoms may include pain and discomfort. Corns and blisters can also develop on top of the extended toe. Hammertoe can occur as a result of genetic factors, and from wearing shoes that do not have adequate room for the toes to move freely in. There may be an existing bunion that can cause pressure on the affected toes. Many patients find it beneficial to perform specific foot and toe stretches that may help to relieve a portion of the pain. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended that can permanently straighten the toes. If you are afflicted with hammertoe, it is strongly advised that you are under the care of a podiatrist who can offer you correct treatment techniques.

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Dr. Charles Marchese of Manalapan Foot & Ankle. Our doctor will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.


Hammertoe is a foot deformity that occurs due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight. It can be caused by the type of shoes you wear, your foot structure, trauma, and certain disease processes.


  • Painful and/or difficult toe movement
  • Swelling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Calluses/Corns
  • Physical deformity

Risk Factors

  • Age – The risk of hammertoe increases with age
  • Sex – Women are more likely to have hammertoe compared to men
  • Toe Length – You are more likely to develop hammertoe if your second toe is longer than your big toe
  • Certain Diseases – Arthritis and diabetes may make you more likely to develop hammertoe


If you have hammertoe, you should change into a more comfortable shoe that provides enough room for your toes. Exercises such as picking up marbles may strengthen and stretch your toe muscles. Nevertheless, it is important to seek assistance from a podiatrist in order to determine the severity of your hammertoe and see which treatment option will work best for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Manalapan, NJ, and Staten Island, NY . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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