When one of the lesser toes bends in the middle or deviates either left or right they are called hammertoes. The term is a catch-all for a number of different conditions that make toes not lay straight like they are supposed to. 

Hammertoe happens when the tendons and muscles tighten and become shorter pulling the toe into a curled position. 

Causes may include:

  • Shoes that are too narrow and don't have enough space for the toes causing them to be squeezed and curled. High heel shoes can put the foot in an unnatural position and also make the toes curl.
  • An injury 
  • A hereditary disease


In the early stages of hammertoe, the toe can still be flexible. Non surgery ways to deal with hammertoe include buying shoes that have plenty of toe room with low to no heel. Taping or splinting the toes (get advice from a doctor before trying this at home). Exercising the toes by doing stretches can help. A custom orthotic insert or shoe can also help.

Some cases are severe and require surgery to fix the toes. It is an outpatient surgery.

Hammertoes can also cause things like calluses and corns. 


If you have a toe or toes in question, Williamsburg Podiatry is here to help. We can assess your feet and help fix the problem so you can get back to your active lifestyle.





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