Tuesday, 30 January 2024 00:00

Causes of Hammertoe

Hammertoe, a common foot deformity characterized by an abnormal bending of one or more toes at the middle joint, can develop due to various factors. First, genetics can play a significant role, as individuals with an inherited foot structure that predisposes them to hammertoes may be more susceptible. The choice of footwear is another critical factor, as tight, narrow, or ill-fitting shoes can force the toes into unnatural positions, subjecting the toe joints to excessive pressure. High-heeled shoes, in particular, can push the toes forward into a bent position, contributing to hammertoe development. Additionally, a toe length discrepancy, where one toe is longer than the others, can increase the risk, especially if it consistently rubs against the inside of the shoe. Conditions like arthritis can also lead to joint inflammation and deformities, including hammertoes. Past toe injuries or trauma can disrupt toe joint alignment, and muscle imbalances affecting toe movement can also play a role. If you have developed a hammertoe, it is suggested that you schedule an appointment with a podiatrist for early intervention and treatment to help manage the condition and prevent it from worsening.

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact one of our podiatrists of Podiatry Services . Our doctors will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.


Hammertoe is a foot deformity that occurs due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight. It can be caused by the type of shoes you wear, your foot structure, trauma, and certain disease processes.


  • Painful and/or difficult toe movement
  • Swelling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Calluses/Corns
  • Physical deformity

Risk Factors

  • Age – The risk of hammertoe increases with age
  • Sex – Women are more likely to have hammertoe compared to men
  • Toe Length – You are more likely to develop hammertoe if your second toe is longer than your big toe
  • Certain Diseases – Arthritis and diabetes may make you more likely to develop hammertoe


If you have hammertoe, you should change into a more comfortable shoe that provides enough room for your toes. Exercises such as picking up marbles may strengthen and stretch your toe muscles. Nevertheless, it is important to seek assistance from a podiatrist in order to determine the severity of your hammertoe and see which treatment option will work best for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Murrieta, CA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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