Hammer Toes

July 18, 2023

What is Hammer Toe?

Hammer Toe typically develop over time due to an increasing imbalance in the toe’s tendons, ligaments, and muscles. These imbalances eventually cause the toe to contract and bend at one or both of the toe’s two joints.

Hammer Toe occurs when any of the small toes of your foot become bent and prominent (stick up). The four small toes of your foot are each made up of three bones with joints in between them. Normally these bones and joints are straight. A hammer or claw toe occurs when your toe becomes bent at the first or second joint. Sometimes a bursa (like a deep blister) is formed over your joint and this can become inflamed. Callus (hard skin) or corns can also form over your joints or the end of your toe.

What causes Hammer Toe?

The most common cause of hammer toe is wearing short, narrow shoes that are too tight. This causes the toe to bend upward. Muscles and tendons in the toe tighten and become shorter. This makes the toe stay in the bent position. People who are born with long bones in their toes are more likely to develop hammer toe. Children who wear shoes they have outgrown may develop this condition. People who wear very narrow shoes or high-heeled shoes are also more likely to develop a hammer toe.

Some other factors that may increase your chances of hammer toe are:

  • Heredity
  • Injury
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis

What are the best treatment options for Hammer Toe?

Surgery is an option and is where your toes may be pinned to straighten them. Other solutions include orthotics, strapping and taping. Seeing a Biomechanical Specialist will help determine the correct course of action for each individual.

If you are suffering from Hammer Toe or want to learn more, get in touch with our Patient Services team by calling 01380 730473.