Why Hammertoes are More Serious Than you Think


One thing’s for certain, the word, “hammertoe”, doesn’t exactly sound like a potentially serious foot problem. Instead, it gives off a rather humorous, or even cartoonish, first impression. But don’t let the seemingly lighthearted name fool you. Hammer toes can become a real big pain in the neck, or foot- to be exact- and may impact your life more than you might think.

Causes & Symptoms

A hammertoe is a bending or buckling of the toe joint, which is a result of muscles getting out of balance. The toe ends up curling downward, and taking a shape, that can resemble an upside down letter “V”. Several different things can cause this common foot issue, including:

  • Genes
  • Arthritis
  • Injury/trauma to the toe

Wearing shoes that are too tight or pointy
The visible difference in the toe’s form is one thing, but if you’ve developed a hammertoe you may also experience symptoms such as swelling and reddening of the joint, pain when moving the joint or putting on a shoe, corns on top of the buckled toe, and pain on the ball of the foot that is under the toe, in question.

Types of Hammertoes

Hammertoes can either be flexible or rigid. If they are flexible, they still can provide some movement and can often be more easily treated with conservative methods. However, if they are rigid, they are stiff and cannot be moved. This can also lead to irregular, deformed foot movement. Once the condition worsens, and non-invasive treatment is unavailable, hammertoes that are rigid will require surgery to correct.

Pardon the phrase, but this all “buckles” down to the important fact that hammertoes do not merely go away, or get better, on their own. It is a progressive condition that, if left untreated, can only get worse.

Sometimes, those with mild cases may not feel that treatment is necessary. However, this can be faulty reasoning. Early intervention often allows for simple adjustments such as, finding proper footwear, and adding insoles or cushioning for pain management. Taking steps toward early treatment can mean preventing accelerating pain and preventing the need for any future surgical procedure.

Care For Hammertoes & Beyond

At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, our doctors and staff are trained to use our medical skills and knowledge to treat a wide variety of foot-related issues. We make it our mission to help keep feet healthy and working well. If you are looking for dedicated patient care for your feet, contact our Long Beach office today.