A hammertoe is a contracted second, third, fourth, or fifth toe. They usually start out as mild deformities and progressively get worse over time. The abnormal bending can put pressure on the toe when wearing shoes, causing corns or calluses to form. Corns often form on top of the toe where it rubs against the shoe, and calluses may form on the bottom of the toe or the ball of the foot where your weight is transferred to.
Sometimes, hammertoes can be caused by some kind of trauma – like a previously broken toe – or they may be inherited. Because of the progressive nature of hammertoes, they never get better without some sort of intervention. Conservative treatment options include avoiding shoes that crowd the toes, wearing a buttress pad under the contracted toe, and trimming and padding the corns and calluses. Surgery may be needed to relieve the pain if the toe has become rigid. Dr. Mendoza will discuss the options and select a plan tailored to your needs.