Hammer Toe Specialist

Artisan Foot and Ankle Specialists -  - Podiatrist

Artisan Foot and Ankle Specialists

Podiatrists & Foot and Ankle Specialists located in Mission Viejo, CA & Laguna Hills, CA

A hammertoe is a foot abnormality that affects the toes, causing an upward bend in the toe joint. The foot problem may cause pain and issues walking and worsens over time. The podiatry team at Artisan Foot and Ankle Specialists in Mission Viejo and Laguna Hills, California, recommends getting treatment early for your hammertoe to prevent or delay surgical intervention. Call the office most convenient to you, or schedule your podiatry appointment online today.

Hammer Toe Q & A

What is a hammertoe?

A hammertoe is an abnormal bend in one or two of the joints in your second, third, fourth, or fifth toe. The toe joint bends upward, which may rub against your shoe, causing pain or the formation of corns or calluses.

A hammertoe is a progressive condition that develops in stages. These stages include:

Flexible hammertoe

During the early stages, you have a flexible hammertoe, which means you can still move the toe and joint. 

Semi-rigid hammertoe

Over time, the joint may stiffen, becoming a more semi-rigid hammertoe.

Rigid hammertoe

With a rigid hammertoe, your joint is fixed, and you can no longer straighten out the toe. 

What causes a hammertoe?

An imbalance in muscle strength in your toe, foot, or calf may lead to the development of a hammertoe. The muscle imbalance then pulls on the tendon in the toe, causing the bend at the joint. 

The muscle imbalance may occur from an underlying neurological condition or a mechanical problem in the foot. Your foot type may also create an imbalance that leads to foot deformity. 

Wearing high-heeled shoes or shoes with a small toe box puts pressure on the toes and the toe joint, aggravating the deformity. 

What happens during a hammertoe evaluation?

The Artisan Foot and Ankle Specialists team takes a patient-centered approach to care. They conduct comprehensive evaluations when you come in with concerns about a hammertoe.

Your provider reviews your symptoms and medical history and examines your feet. Then, they run X-rays of your feet to assess the severity of your deformity and talk with you about your foot condition. 

How is a hammertoe treated?

Treatment for a hammertoe depends on the severity of your deformity and symptoms. However, the podiatrists at Artisan Foot and Ankle Specialists always start with conservative treatments, which may include:

  • Change in shoewear
  • Padding for corns and calluses
  • Custom orthotics
  • Toe taping or splinting
  • Foot and toe stretching exercises
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)


The team may recommend surgery to correct your hammertoe if it is rigid and causes symptoms affecting your quality of life. During a hammertoe surgery, your podiatrist may lengthen the tendon, fuse the joint, or both. 

Don’t delay treatment for your hammertoe; call Artisan Foot and Ankle Specialists or schedule an appointment online today.