Hammer Toe Specialist


Podiatry located in Union Square/Village, New York, NY, Midtown/ Grand Central, New York, NY, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, & Englewood, NJ

When hammertoe first develops, it’s easy to ignore because it’s not painful. But if it goes untreated, the condition gets progressively worse until your only treatment option is surgery. The board-certified podiatrists at FOOTDRx have extensive experience treating hammertoe in its early and advanced stages. To schedule an appointment, use the online booking feature or call the office that’s most convenient for you. FOOTDRx has three New York City locations in Union Square, Midtown East in Manhattan, or Bushwick, Brooklyn, and an office in Englewood, New Jersey.

Hammer Toe Q & A

What is hammertoe?

Hammertoe is a deformity that affects the second, third, or fourth toes. The deformity develops when the tip of the toe bends down at the middle joint, giving the toe the shape of a hammer.

Several problems may initially make the toe bend, but then after it stays in that position, an imbalance develops in the muscles and tendons that control the toe’s movement. 

Muscles work in pairs, with one muscle bending and another one straightening the toe. If the toe is forced to stay in a bent position, the muscles tighten, making it hard for the opposite muscle to restore the toe’s normal, straight position.

What causes hammertoe?

You may inherit a genetic tendency to form hammertoe, but that doesn’t mean you’ll develop the problem later in life. Trauma, neuromuscular conditions, and inflammatory conditions like arthritis can lead to a bent toe. In most cases, however, hammertoe is caused by wearing shoes that put too much pressure on the toes because they’re too tight or high-heeled.

What symptoms develop due to hammertoe?

When hammertoe goes untreated, you’ll experience symptoms such as:

  • Pain when wearing shoes
  • Corns on the top of the toe
  • Limited or painful toe movement
  • Redness and swelling of the affected joint
  • Pain in the ball of your foot

As the condition becomes severe, your shoes may not fit over the bent toe.

What treats hammertoe?

When hammertoe first develops, the toe is still flexible. At this stage, your provider at FOOTDRx may successfully treat it using one or more of the following:

  • Orthotics
  • Splinting
  • Padding and taping
  • Shoes with a large toe box
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises

If your hammertoe goes untreated, the muscles become increasingly rigid, until your toe can’t move. Once it reaches that stage, surgery is your only option.

Hammertoe surgery is done on an outpatient basis using a local anesthetic. Some patients may also need sedation to help them relax. 

Surgery to repair a hammertoe only takes about 15 minutes. During that time, your physician at FOOTDRx makes four small incisions and rebalances the tendons. You can walk wearing a surgical shoe as soon as your procedure is finished. 

To schedule treatment for hammertoe, call FOOTDRx or use the online booking feature.