Hammertoe doesn’t just affect the appearance of a toe, it can also cause you pain that interferes with your ability to walk. Since it’s a toe deformity, it may also affect your ability to find shoes that fit you comfortably. Conservative treatments from a podiatrist can help, but some people may require foot surgery to correct the issue.

What Is Hammertoe?

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that affects the middle joint of a toe. In most cases, this issue impacts either the second, third, or fourth toe. With this condition, the toe remains bent at the joint instead of lying flat like the rest of the toes.

Hammertoe develops as a result of an imbalance in the ligaments, tendons, or muscles in the foot. Improper footwear, certain medical conditions, or trauma can cause hammertoe. As a result of hammertoe, you may develop corns or calluses due to the toes rubbing against each other.

Treatment for Hammertoe

In the early stages of hammertoe, your foot surgeon will want to manage your condition conservatively as much as possible to relieve pain.

Change in Footwear

This may include a change in your footwear. For instance, high-heeled shoes are known to cause hammertoe because they force your toes to crowd into a small space and not lie flat. Shoes that are too tight crowd your toes and put them into an unnatural position. For these reasons, your practitioner may recommend you avoid high-heeled shoes and shoes that fit too tightly in the toe region.

If you need help finding shoes that fit properly, your specialist can help. For example, your practitioner may recommend you have your feet measured or purchase wide-sized shoes.

Wear Shoe Inserts or Pads

Your foot doctor may recommend you wear orthotics or pads inside your shoes. These can help reposition your toes into a more natural position. As a result, you will have less pain from your hammertoe. It may also help prevent your hammertoe from worsening.

Perform Toe Exercises

You can strengthen the soft tissues in your toes by performing certain exercises every day if your hammertoe isn’t severe. For example, your practitioner may recommend you practice picking up marbles or clenching a towel with your toes.

Get Treatment Immediately if You’re Diabetic

If you’re diabetic, you should get treatment for your hammertoe when the condition is just starting. That way, you don’t develop corns or ulcers that can become infected. If you should happen to develop any issues from a hammertoe, you should contact a specialist immediately.


If these measures aren’t enough, your doctor may recommend surgery to reposition your toe. The most common option is proximal interphalangeal joint fusion. During this procedure, your foot surgeon fuses your toe’s bones together to straighten and stabilize it.

Why Choose our Cincinnati, OH Foot Surgeon for Your Hammertoe Treatment

The expert podiatrists at Cincinnati Foot & Ankle Care have a wealth of experience treating all types of foot and ankle injuries and conditions, from fractures to hammertoes. If you suspect you have a hammertoe, our podiatrists can help diagnose and treat your condition effectively.

Book an appointment with Cincinnati Foot & Ankle Care, serving southwest Ohio, if you have a hammertoe or another podiatric issue. Call one of our locations most convenient to you, or request an appointment online.