Board Certified Foot and Ankle Surgeons located in Arcadia, CA


Hammertoes are abnormally bent and may lock into position without timely treatment. If you develop hammertoes, visit Caitlyn Lee, DPM, AACFAS, and Wenjay Sung, DPM, FACFAS, at Global Podiatry Partners, Inc. in Arcadia, California. They offer conservative treatments for flexible hammertoes and minimally invasive surgery for fixed hammertoes. Call the Global Podiatry Partners, Inc. office today to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment by completing the online form.

Hammertoes Q & A

What are hammertoes?

Hammertoe affects the second, third, or fourth toe, making it bend at the middle joint and overlap the neighboring toe. Hammertoes may be painful, especially if you try to move them. They can also limit mobility if severe.

As the abnormality progresses, you might develop swelling and redness in the affected toes and experience a burning sensation between or on top of your toes. Having hammertoes increases your risk of corns — hard growths that form where the toes come under pressure.

At first, hammertoes are flexible, meaning you can still move the joint. However, without treatment, they become fixed, so you can’t unbend them.

Why do I have hammertoes?

Hammertoes often develop because of improperly fitting shoes and high heels that force your foot into an unnatural position. Other risk factors include:

  • Toe muscle problems
  • Second toes that are longer than big toes
  • Breaking, stubbing, or jamming your toes
  • Flat feet (fallen arches)
  • High arches
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Certain neurological conditions

Your genes also play a role, so you’re more likely to develop hammertoes if other family members have them.

If you develop hammertoes, switch to well-fitting support shoes with soft uppers. This footwear accommodates your feet more comfortably and helps prevent your hammertoes from worsening.

What treatments help with hammertoes?

Global Podiatry Partners, Inc. offers comprehensive hammertoe treatment. Physical therapy helps to keep the joints flexible, and you might also benefit from toe spacers.

Your podiatrist can design custom orthotics (inserts) that fit inside your shoes, supporting your foot and relieving pressure on the toes.

If a corn develops on your hammertoe, over-the-counter cushions and corn pads are available to relieve the pressure. Medicated products could cause skin irritation and possibly lead to sores and infection with excessive use, so ask your podiatrist for advice before using these products.

They may recommend shaving the corn, an in-office procedure that offers immediate relief.

You might need surgery if you continue to have problems with your hammertoes or they become fixed.

What surgery might I need for hammertoes?

Hammertoe surgeries that Global Podiatry Partners, Inc. performs vary depending on your condition’s severity.

Tenotomy (tendon release) is suitable for flexible hammertoes. Arthroplasty is the repair of less flexible hammertoes, while arthrodesis involves fusing the bones if you have inflexible hammertoes.

Call Global Podiatry Partners, Inc. to arrange a hammertoe evaluation or book an appointment online today.