The symptoms of hammertoe are:
Corns and calluses around the affected toe or toes
Inability to straighten the affected toe or toes
Inflammation, redness or burning in the affected area
Pain that worsens when wearing shoes
Pain that increases with movement
Hammertoe is fairly easy to identify with a physical examination. The middle joint of your toe is bent downwards and resembles a claw. You may have limited movement and pain, and not be able to straighten all your toes.
Your doctor may recommend an X-ray to assess the bone structure of your foot and determine the extent of the damage.
If hammertoe is in its early stages, treatment may include:
Anti-inflammatory drugs—like ibuprofen to reduce swelling and pain.
Footwear change—to well-fitting shoes with a wide toe base and a low heel.
Orthotics—customized arch support devices.
Pads—to shield corns and calluses from irritation.
Splints—to realign the affected toe or toes and hold them in place.
Once hammertoe progresses, surgery may be necessary. The main reasons to do surgery are for severe pain or if you are having any issues with the skin on top of the knuckle. Your surgeon may:
Cut or transplant the tendons of your damaged toes
Fuse your joint together to straighten the toe so it doesn’t bend
Remove pieces of your toe bones
The nationally recognized specialists at The Christ Hospital Health Network provide patient-centered care for foot and toe issues. Our team of experts uses advanced technology to diagnose and treat hammertoe and other foot deformities.
Find a foot and ankle specialist near you.