How to Tell if You Have Hammertoe

Feb 21, 2023
How to Tell if You Have Hammertoe
A hammertoe can cause more than an irksome appearance. Learn the signs of this often painful deformity, plus what to do about them.

If you have a bothersome toe that bends in a way it shouldn’t, you might be dealing with a hammertoe. This common condition is often treatable without surgery, thankfully, especially if you get started with treatment early on. And if you do end up needing surgery, the benefits are typically well worth it.

At Mayfair Foot Care in Commack, New York, Drs. Edward BuroChristine Peterson, and Rosario Saccomanno have extensive experience diagnosing and treating hammertoe at all stages.

Take a few minutes to learn more about hammertoes, including common signs and effective treatments. 

What exactly is a hammertoe?

A hammertoe is a deformity in your foot that causes an abnormal bend at the middle joint. It can affect your second, third, or fourth toe and stem from several causes, including:

  • An imbalance in your ligaments, tendons, or muscles
  • Wearing poorly fitting shoes or unsupportive shoes, such as high heels
  • Traumatic injury to your foot

Certain chronic diseases, such as arthritis and diabetes, may also contribute to hammertoe. 

How to tell if you have a hammertoe

If you have a toe that bends in an abnormal way around the middle, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with a hammertoe. Other signs may include difficulty moving the toe when you walk or exercise and pain around the middle joint. 

Pain from a hammertoe may also crop up in the ball of the affected foot. Meanwhile, the joint may appear red or swollen. Additionally, a hammertoe can lead to callus or corn because of the toe rubbing on the inside of your shoes. 

If you notice any signs of a hammertoe, one of our specialists at Mayfair Foot Care can diagnose or rule out the condition after a comprehensive exam. 

Treatment for a hammertoe

Hammertoe treatment aims to reduce bothersome symptoms, such as pain, while protecting you from worsening issues and complications. 

Early on, your treatment may include orthotics, splitting, padding and taping, and wearing shoes with a roomy toe box. You may also benefit from special stretches and exercises.

Corrective surgery may be your only option if your symptoms have been going on for some time. If your toe is rigid and no longer moves, you’re likely a candidate for this procedure. 

Hammertoe surgery, which takes about 15 minutes, rebalances the tendons in your affected foot. Afterward, you’ll be able to walk using a surgical shoe while your foot heals. 

Call Mayfair Foot Care or book an appointment through our website today to learn more about hammertoes or get the care you need.