What Exactly is Hammer Toe

01 Sep What Exactly is Hammer Toe

Hammer Toe

What exactly is hammer toe? Hammer toe doesn’t refer to dropping a hammer on your toe, but it is a painful condition that can interfere with normal walking and other daily activities.

If you have hammer toe, it’s easy to see what the condition looks like. Your middle three toes will look and feel as if they’re permanently bent, like a claw hammer. In many cases, the joints swell and become painful, making it difficult to wear shoes.

There are two types of hammer toe. In flexible hammer toe, you can still move the toe at the joint. In this case there are several treatment plans that can help. The more serious type, rigid hammer toe, means the joint has become fixed and immovable. In this case, surgery will probably be the only option.


  • Intense pain when trying to put shoes on
  • Corns or calluses forming on the toe joints
  • Swelling and reddening of the toes
  • Toes bent like a claw hammer
  • Blisters

Treating Hammer Toe

Whatever type of hammer toe you have, only a qualified podiatrist can provide the correct foot care to treat it. Good foot health starts with a visit to your Loudoun County podiatrist, who will diagnose it and give you the best options for treatment.

Your podiatrist will likely prescribe:

  • Shoes with a wide, soft toe box and heels no higher than two inches
  • Corn pads to wrap and cushion the toe
  • Massage and toe exercises
  • Custom orthotics
  • Ice packs to reduce swelling

What Causes Hammer Toe?

The number-one culprit is wearing shoes that are too tight, too high and too pointed in the toe. That’s why women are more prone to it than men are. Other factors that can contribute to or cause hammer toe:

  • Conditions such as diabetes that lead to poor circulation
  • A traumatic jury to the toes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Having flat feet or high arches

Preventing Hammer Toe

The best way to prevent hammer toe, and many other foot problems, is to wear properly-fitting, supportive shoes. These don’t have to be expensive but they do have to provide support to your arches and flexibility where the ball of your foot sits in the shoe.

In addition, follow these tips:

  • Wear the right shoe for each activity
  • Gently stretch your toes every day
  • Get regular checkups by a foot care expert
  • If you have flat feet or high arches, ask about orthotics before hammer toe takes hold

Foot health affects your whole body. If you can’t get around without pain, you’re severely limiting your life. And there’s no good reason to. At Shuman Podiatry, you’ll find a Loudoun County podiatrist who will keep your tootsies in top condition. Call us today and let us put the hammer down on foot pain.


About: Dr Shuman provides podiatry services in Sterling, Ashburn, Lansdowne and Leesburg Va.  Shuman Podiatry offers: custom orthotics, diabetic foot care, heel pain and spurs, wart removal and more.  Contact Dr Shuman today for all your foot care needs.

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