Hammertoes is the term for progressive symptoms and joint changes when the ligaments and muscles around your toe joint become out of balance. This deformity makes the middle joint of your toe buckle and the tendon to your toe pull abnormally. Hammertoes are very common among your middle three toes and are very common with baby toes. In some cases, you may notice a callus or corn on top of your deformed toe, which can be painful and make it difficult to move the affected toe freely. In this guide, we will discuss the possible treatments for Huntsville hammertoes.

Types of Hammertoes

Two main types of hammertoes include:

  •       Rigid hammertoes. If the tendons in your toe become rigid, they exert pressure on the joint causing it to be out of alignment. This makes it difficult to move your toe freely and can only be corrected through surgical procedures.
  •       Flexible hammertoes. Flexible hammertoe is where you can still move your toe at the affected joint. This means you are experiencing a milder form of hammertoes, which often has several effective treatment options.

What Are the Symptoms of Hammertoes?

The most common symptom of hammertoe is your toe or toes bending upward in the middle. Other symptoms of hammertoe include:

  • Calluses and corns at the top of the affected joint
  • Pain at the top of your bent toe
  • Swelling at your joint
  • Inflammation, burning sensation, or redness
  • A rigid joint in your toe
  • Painful or restricted motion of your toe joint
  • Pain in the ball of your foot
  • A joint in your toe that’s getting rigid
  • Stiffness in the bent toes
  • Open sores
  • Pain when you walk

Hammertoe Causes and Risk Factors

Naturally, the muscles of each toe function in pairs; thus, when these toe muscles become imbalanced, it results in hammertoes. Below are some of the common causes of hammertoes:

  •       Alcoholism
  •       Spinal cord tumors
  •       Arthritis
  •       Shoes that do not fit
  •       High arches
  •       Stroke
  •       Bunions
  •       Polio
  •       Genes
  •       Flat feet
  •       Age
  •       Charcot-Tooth-Marie disease

Hammertoe Diagnosis

Orthopedic Surgeon

Your healthcare provider should determine if you have hammertoes by closely examining your feet and doing medical evaluations, such as moving and touching your foot and toes, to determine how your joints will react. If your doctor wants accurate information about your toe joints, foot, or bones, they may request an X-ray. Patients with diabetes may be required to go through several medical tests to determine if there is a neurological condition resulting in tendon imbalance.


Fortunately, there are plenty of reliable treatment options that may help treat hammertoes, as mentioned below:

  •       Splinting and taping your toe to straighten it
  •       Placing pads or inserts in your shoes will help align your toes
  •       Prescribing well-fitting shoes
  •       Doing exercises that strengthen and stretch your toes
  •       Placing ice packs on your toes to relieve joint pains
  •       Injecting steroids in painful or severely swollen toe joints
  •       Prescribing nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as naproxen to help with joint swelling

For severe hammertoes cases, your healthcare provider may recommend the following surgical treatment options:

  •       Tendon transfer. Here, tendons are attached under your affected toe to the top of your toe to straighten it.
  •       Weil osteotomy. Here, certain bones in your foot are shortened and screwed in.
  •       Arthroplasty. Here, half of the joint under each affected toe is taken so it can lie flat.
  •       Arthrodesis. Here, the whole joint under your affected toes is taken, and a wire is placed to align it.

The Foot and Ankle Specialists offer the residents in and around Huntsville with comprehensive treatment solutions for foot pain. They will also provide you with today’s most advanced podiatric care and other effective therapies that support healing. These treatment plans are customized to meet each patient’s needs to help improve foot recovery. Get started by scheduling an appointment today or call us today.