Fairview Range Blog

Hammer Toe? What You Can Do

It isn’t too difficult to spot hammer toe. Typically developing on the second or third toe, the middle part of the toe will bend upwards and the end of the toe will flex down, resembling a hammer shape. What isn’t easy is how to fix this painful foot affliction.

We spoke with Fairview Range podiatrist, Dr. Stacey Helland, to learn more about what causes hammer toe, what treatment options are available, and how to prevent it.

What is a hammer toe and how can a patient get it?

“A hammer toe is a contracture or bending of the toe causing the toe to look like an inverted ‘V’ from the side. Hammer toes are caused from an imbalance of tendons and muscles of the toe and the foot. The way you walk, tightness of muscles in the foot and leg, high arches, flat arches, tight shoe gear, trauma to a toe, and arthritis can all lead to the development of hammer toes.”

What treatment options are available for hammer toes?

“Treatment options depend on the flexibility or rigidity of the hammer toe contractures. Sometimes hammer toes can be treated with certain splints and pads. If the hammer toes are still causing pain or irritation after conservative treatment options, there are surgical treatment options that can be discussed with your local podiatrist.”

Can you prevent hammer toes from occurring?

“To an extent, proper shoe gear, correction of high or flat arches, and routine stretches of the calf muscles may decrease or slow the progression of hammer toes; however, hammer toes often develop even while attempting preventative measures.”

What part of your foot does a hammer toe affect?

“Hammer toes can cause pain on the tops of the toes when they are contracted; however, the toes contracting upward also causes the metatarsal bone (the bone to which the toe is attached) to flex downward causing pain in the ball of the foot as well.”

If you are struggling with hammer toe pain, speak with your podiatrist to learn about what treatment options are available to you. If you have additional questions or if you would like to request an appointment, contact Fairview Range at 866-806-7139 or log onto MyChart at https://www.fairview.org/mychart today.


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