Understanding and dealing with a hammertoe on your foot

What is a hammertoe?

A hammertoe is caused by foot imbalances and heredity factors.

A hammertoe is a foot condition affecting the second, third, or fourth toes. In this condition, the toe is bent at the middle joint, causing it to resemble a hammer. The toe buckles due to abnormal contraction, from a partial or complete dislocation of one of the joints of the toe.

It is common that people who suffer from a hammertoe also develop painful corns on the top of the affected toe, where it rubs against the inside of the shoe. This pain may be resolved by adding extra cushioning, regularly trimming down the corn, or by choosing roomier shoes.

A hammertoe is caused by foot imbalances and heredity factors. Certainly wearing high heels aggravates the hammertoe since heels accentuate the contracted position of the hammertoe. Tight-fitting stockings can also aggravate the condition.

Your chiropodist will assess your feet and determine the cause of the hammertoe and make useful suggestions. Some suggestions may include making silicone toe pads which can reduce pressure, or using a custom orthotic to better support your foot, which will also slow down the buckling process in a hammertoe. If the hammertoe is caught early enough, the above conservative chiropody care is sufficient. However, if it is allowed to progress, then there will be more pain, calluses, inflammation, possibly infection and alteration of the bone structure. In these cases, surgery may be required.

Ujala is a certified chiropodist who graduated with a B.A. from McMaster University in Biological Anthropology and then went on to attend The Michener Institute of Applied Health Sciences where she received her advanced diploma of Health Sciences in Podiatric Medicine.   In good standing with the College of Chiropodist of Ontario, she possesses clinical experience in both private practice and public health. In 2011, Ujala completed the International Interprofessional Wound Care Course through the University of Toronto and is now a certified wound care specialist. 

Ujala practices at Ontario Foot and Orthotics - Milton and Ontario Foot and Orthotics - Cambridge where she offers a variety of foot care services that include general foot care, custom orthotics and orthopaedic shoes, diabetic foot care, wound care, warts and fungal infections, ingrown toenails, various surgical procedures, compression stockings, and more