Hammertoe is a foot deformity where one or more of the smaller toes become bent at the middle joint, resembling a hammer. It typically occurs due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight. Common causes include wearing ill-fitting shoes, foot structure abnormalities, and arthritis. People with hammertoe may experience pain, swelling, corns, or calluses on the affected toe. In severe cases, the toe may become rigid and difficult to move. Surgery may be necessary when conservative treatments like wearing proper footwear, toe exercises, or padding fail to provide relief. Good candidates for surgery include individuals with persistent pain, severe deformity, or difficulty walking. Those with poor circulation, an active infection, or other health problems must consider the risk of such surgery carefully. Surgery aims to straighten the toe, relieve pain, and restore function, often involving removing a portion of the bone or releasing tight tendons. If you have a painful hammertoe that has not responded to other treatments, it is suggested that you schedule an appointment with a podiatrist to see if surgery is the right solution for you.

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Dr. Castillo of Bronx Foot Care. 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 office located in Bronx, NY . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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