Wednesday, 07 September 2022 00:00

Understanding the Causes and Treatments of Hammertoes

When muscles, ligaments, or tendons in the feet become imbalanced from improper footwear, genetic foot conditions, diabetes, or neurological damage, a hammertoe may develop. This is a contracture deformity of joint(s) in a toe, causing it to become bent or curled, rather than laying flat and pointing forward. Hammertoes are a progressive disorder. At first, they are flexible (moveable), but may become rigid (fixed) if left untreated. Aside from being unattractive, hammertoes can cause corns and calluses to develop, as the bent toe can rub repeatedly against footwear. Hammertoes can also lead to other, more serious, complications such as bunions, arthritis pain, and  metatarsalgia. Treating a hammertoe in its early stages is important, before it becomes rigid and may require surgery. Contact a podiatrist as soon as you notice that your toe seems stuck in a bent position. Depending on the severity, pain, and cause of your hammertoe, your podiatrist may be able to treat it conservatively with orthotics and a change in footwear, specific exercises, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections and more.


Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact one of our podiatrists from Quad Cities Foot and Ankle Associates. Our doctors 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 Bettendorf, and DeWitt, IA and Rock Island, IL . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about What Are Hammertoes?

Connect With Us

Advanced Podiatric Procedures & Services in the Bettendorf, IA 52722, Rock Island, IL 61201 and DeWitt, IA 52742 areas