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Hammer Toe

Hammertoe describes an abnormal bend in the middle joint of the center three toes. Board-certified podiatrist Andrew McCall, DPM, FACFAS, of Alpine Foot and Ankle in Idaho Falls, ID and Alpine, WY, provides conservative and surgical treatment for problematic hammertoe. Call the office today or use this website to book an appointment if you have this painful condition.

Hammer Toe Q & A

What is hammertoe?

Hammertoe describes a contracture in the middle joint of a toe. It usually affects the middle three toes. While many people experience no problem due to hammertoe, others can develop foot pain or discomfort while wearing shoes or while walking and running. 

Another condition, known as mallet toe, affects the highest joint closest to the toenail.

How do I know if I have a hammertoe?

If you have a hammertoe, you’ll notice an abnormal bend in one of your middle toe joints. Pain can also develop, especially when you wiggle the toe or wear shoes. Corns and calluses often develop on top of the toe, where the joint rubs against your shoes. 

Contact Alpine Foot and Ankle if you suspect you have hammertoe. The condition will not resolve on its own and is likely to worsen without treatment.

What causes hammertoe?

Hammertoe usually results from an imbalance in the soft tissues that keep your toe aligned straight. If you repeatedly wear tight or narrow shoes in the toe box, you can cause this imbalance to develop in the tendons, muscles, and ligaments. Some people are also genetically predisposed to an imbalance in the soft tissues.

Your risk of developing hammertoe rises as you age or if you experience a stubbed or broken toe. People with arthritis or diabetes or those who have a longer second toe as compared to the big toe are also at greater risk. 

How do you treat hammertoe?

Hammertoes are flexible at first and respond well to conservative treatments. Your customized treatment plan may include:

  • Changes in footwear
  • Using foot orthotics
  • Padding corns and calluses
  • Splinting or strapping the toe
  • Exercises to stretch and strengthen your foot muscles
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain

Over time, however, hammertoes become less flexible and even rigid. In these cases, you may need surgery to correct them. Dr. Mccall may recommend one of several procedures, including tendon lengthening, tendon transfer, or joint fusion surgery.

If you’re concerned that you have hammertoe, call Alpine Foot and Ankle or use this website to book an appointment today.


Alpine Foot and Ankle Care specializes in Minimal Incision Surgery techniques, meticulously crafted to minimize scarring and accelerate the pace of recovery. 
Minimally Invasive Surgery Services

Minimally Invasive Surgery

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