Signs and Symptoms of Hammer Toe

Hammer Toe can be extremely painful for those who experience it. It also looks visibly uncomfortable when you see it as the toes are unnaturally bent. It occurs when there is an abnormal bend in the middle joint of the toe. This bend makes the toe bend down and look like a hammer. The condition occurs because of an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments surrounding the toe. These are what usually keeps the toe straight.  It is one of the most common deformities in the three middle toes. While Hammer Toe may seem unmanageable, there are various symptoms of Hammer Toe to help catch it early. However, if the condition is not treated quickly it can become worse and require surgery.

Causes of Hammer Toe

Hammer Toe can be caused by a number of factors which result in the painful and uncomfortable bending of some or all of the three middle toes. Each tow has two joints which permit them to bend properly. Hammer Toe causes the middle joint to become flexed and/or bend downward. Below you will find some of the common causes of Hammer Toe:

  • Shoes that don’t fit properly
  • Tightened ligaments, tendons, or muscles in the foot
  • High foot arches
  • Injury
  • Arthritis
  • Pressure from a bunion

In addition to the causes of Hammer Toe, there are multiple risk factors that can lead to the condition. Below you will find some of the risk factors that will increase your likelihood of getting Hammer Toe:

  • Family history
  • Wearing tight and/or pointed shoes often
  • Conditions like calluses, bunions, or corns which cause friction due to their thickness

Symptoms of Hammer Toe

One of the most obvious symptoms of Hammer Toe is the shape of one’s toe. If your toe is in an upside down “V” position then you probably have the condition. There are other symptoms that may alert you to the fact that you have Hammer Toe.

  • The ball of your foot under the bent toe hurts
  • Corns form on the top of your toe joints
  • Toes swell and become red
  • Difficulty moving the toe joint, including pain
  • Pain on the top of the affected toe when putting on shoes

If you experience these Hammer Toe symptoms, contact your Oxnard podiatrist.


If you can get diagnosed and treated early, there are a number of treatment options. However, the condition sometimes requires surgery.

  1. Shoes: Talk with you podiatrist about finding the right shoes for you. Depending on your needs and career, they can help you find appropriate footwear so you can walk without pain. You will also need to refrain from wearing heels more than 2 inches high.
  2. Pain and Inflammation Medication: After talking with your podiatrist, they may suggest medication that can reduce the inflammation and pain. Some podiatrists will use cortisone injections to help if the pain is intolerable.
  3. Over-the-Counter Metatarsal Pads: If used properly, these pads can help with the pain and discomfort of the condition.
  4. Surgery: If the options mentioned do not work, you may have to get surgery. Your podiatrist can help guide you through the process if any serious measures need to be taken to address your Hammer Toe.

Hammer Toe Treatment in Oxnard

If you are worried you may have Hammer Toe and would like to get more information from professionals, contact Foot & Ankle Concepts. We have a number of locations all over California, including Oxnard, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Camarillo, Palmdale, and Westlake. We are skilled in working with those suffering from Hammer Toe. Contact Foot & Ankle Concepts today for an appointment!