5 Signs You Have Hammertoes

5 Signs You Have Hammertoes

Your second, third, fourth, and fifth toes have three bony segments connected by two joints. If one (or more) of these toes develops a bend in the upper bone segment, it’s referred to as a hammertoe. It’s called hammertoe because the toe bends downward, giving it the appearance of a hammer. 

Hammertoes develop when you place pressure on one or more of your smaller toes and push it out of alignment. If you repeatedly put pressure on the toe(s), the tendons eventually tighten and freeze the toe in the deformed position.

While hammertoe isn’t a serious condition, it can be incredibly uncomfortable. So, Matthew Hinderland, DPM, Jordan Cameron, DPM, Trevor Whiting, DPMJoseph Fleck, DPM, and the rest of our team at the Foot and Ankle Institute of Colorado in Colorado Springs, Colorado, want you to better understand the condition, including signs that you have it. 

How to know if you have a hammertoe

While hammertoes have a telltale bent appearance, you may still be able to move the affected toe or toes around, making it less obvious if you actually have the condition or not. 

These are some other signs you may be dealing with this common foot deformity:

  1. Wearing tight shoes is painful
  2. You develop corns on the affected toe
  3. You have calluses on the ball of your foot
  4. The affected toe is red and swollen
  5. You experience burning in the affected toe

Hammertoes are more likely to develop when your second toe is longer than your first, you have flat feet, and/or you commonly wear tight or ill-fitting shoes. Even other foot conditions such as bunions or foot arthritis increase your risk of hammertoes. 

So, if you identify with any of these risk factors and have the previously mentioned symptoms, you most likely have a hammertoe. 

Treating hammertoes

There are several effective ways to treat hammertoes that don’t involve aggressive measures like surgery. At the Foot and Ankle Institute of Colorado, we focus on relieving whatever is causing the pressure on your toe, straightening the toe, and giving you any necessary pain relief. 

If your hammertoe is caused by footwear that doesn’t fit properly or squeezes your toes, we recommend switching out your shoes for ones that have a roomy toe box, preferably one that extends at least one inch past your toes. We may also provide you with pads or inserts that help to straighten out your affected toes. 

If your toes are simply prone to bending in a hammer shape, we can provide you with custom orthotics and also pad or splint your toes to keep them straight. 

In addition, we recommend taking over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and swelling.

For expert hammertoe diagnosis and treatment, look no further than our team of podiatrists at the Foot and Ankle Institute of Colorado. Schedule an appointment by calling our office at 719-488-4664 or by using our online booking tool.

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Office CLOSED 3/14/24 for Winter Storm

Our office will be closed on 3/14/24 for the anticipated large impact winter storm that is approaching.  We will still be available by phone at 719-488-4664 during business hours to help you.