A hammer toe is a toe deformity in which the middle joint in the toe bends abnormally, causing the toe to point downward on an angle like a claw or hammer. It occurs in the four smallest toes of the foot, most commonly the second toe.
Hammer toe is frequently caused by ill-fitting shoes and imbalances in the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the foot. If left untreated, it can cause foot pain and lead to other foot issues, such as corns, calluses and bunions. In severe cases, the tendons on top of the toes will tighten and shorten, which makes the toes rigid and difficult to move. Surgery would then be required to correct it.
Fortunately, these complications can be avoided with early treatment by a chiropodist (foot specialist).
Hammer toes are most frequently caused by repeatedly wearing ill-fitting footwear (i.e.: high heels, shoes that are too narrow or too short) that forces the toes into a bent position. If they are persistently crowded and forced into that bent position, they stay that way and a hammer toe develops.
Other causes of hammertoe includes:
There are many effective ways to fully treat and prevent hammertoe in its earlier stages, so the earlier you seek treatment from a foot specialist, the better. These treatments seek to straighten and restore flexibility in the toes, find long term solutions to prevent recurrence and address any side effects or resulting foot issues (i.e.: corns).
The knowledgeable staff and foot specialists at our foot clinic can offer the following:
Drop-in shoe fitting for hammer toes is also offered at our clinic.
While hammertoes can be easily treated in its earlier stages (so long as the joint remains flexible), if left untreated, it will progress and get worse. When the joints become too rigid, surgery may be required.
If your toes appear bent or you are experiencing mobility issues in your toes, you can schedule an assessment with one of our chiropodists using the booking form below, or contact our clinic directly at 416-769-FEET(3338).
Our Toronto foot clinic is open Mondays to Fridays from 10am-6pm, and Saturdays from 9am-4pm. You do not need a referral to become a patient at our foot clinic.
The following risk factors can make you more likely to get hammertoe:
Here are various foot care solutions to prevent hammer toes:
If you need assistance choosing hammertoe-friendly footwear, our Chiropodists (foot specialists) and knowledgeable staff can assist you in selecting supportive and accommodative sandals, shoes, and boots that conform to the unique physiology and biomechanical needs of your feet.
Our foot clinic shoe store is open six days a week and offers a large selection of footwear that can accommodate hammer toes. No appointment required.