Tuesday, 06 June 2023 00:00

Causes of Hammertoe

A hammertoe is a deformity that is usually found in the second toe when the middle joint rises upward and the tip of the toe bends downward. It is so named because the resulting toe resembles the shape of a claw hammer. While some people are genetically predisposed to the formation of a hammertoe, in many cases the main cause is improper footwear. Wearing shoes that are short, narrow, and too tight can contribute to hammertoe formation. When the toe is forced into a bent position, the muscles and tendons in that toe shorten. Women are more at risk of hammertoe because they are more likely to wear high heels with pointed, low, and narrow toe boxes. Children who wear shoes that are too small for them are also at greater risk. Other causes of hammertoe include Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and rheumatoid arthritis. If you have a hammertoe, it is suggested that you make an appointment with a podiatrist, who is a foot doctor that is trained to deal with such maladies and can suggest appropriate treatment options.  


Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Gary Cockrell, DPM from Tennessee. Our doctor will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that affects the joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes of your feet. It is a painful foot condition in which these toes curl and arch up, which can often lead to pain when wearing footwear.


  • Pain in the affected toes
  • Development of corns or calluses due to friction
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Contracture of the toes


Genetics – People who are genetically predisposed to hammertoe are often more susceptible

Arthritis – Because arthritis affects the joints in your toes, further deformities stemming from arthritis can occur

Trauma – Direct trauma to the toes could potentially lead to hammertoe

Ill-fitting shoes – Undue pressure on the front of the toes from ill-fitting shoes can potentially lead to the development of hammertoe


Orthotics – Custom made inserts can be used to help relieve pressure placed on the toes and therefore relieve some of the pain associated with it

Medications – Oral medications such as anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs could be used to treat the pain and inflammation hammertoes causes. Injections of corticosteroids are also sometimes used

Surgery – In more severe cases where the hammertoes have become more rigid, foot surgery is a potential option

If you have any questions please contact our offices located in Brentwood and Madison, TN . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about What Are Hammertoes?

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