What are Hammer Toes?



“A Hammertoe is a contracture (bending) of one or both joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth (little) toes. This abnormal bending can put pressure on the toe when wearing shoes, causing problems to develop.

Hammertoes usually start out as mild deformities and get progressively worse over time. In the earlier stages, hammertoes are flexible and the symptoms can often be managed with noninvasive measures. But if left untreated, hammertoes can become more rigid. Because of the progressive nature of hammertoes, they should receive early attention. ”


  • Pain at the top of the bent toe upon pressure from footwear
  • Formation of corns on the top of the joint
  • Redness and swelling at the joint contracture
  • Restricted or painful motion of the toe joint
  • Pain in the ball of the foot at the base of the affected toe

“The most common cause of hammertoe is a muscle/tendon imbalance. This imbalance, which leads to a bending of the toe, results from mechanical (structural) changes in the foot that occur over time in some people. Hammertoes may be aggravated by shoes that don’t fit properly. A hammertoe may result if a toe is too long and is forced into a cramped position when a tight shoe is worn. ”


  • Avoid heels more than two inches tall.
  • Avoid wearing tight, narrow shoes.
  • Wear shoes with wide toe boxes.
  • Toe pads/tape.
  • Use ice packs if toe is red and swollen.

Call to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hollander to have your hammer toes evaluated, (707) 578-1222.

Alma, P.M.A.

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