How Hammertoes Develop and How You Can Prevent It

The four small toes on each of your feet have three bony parts connected by two joints, in the same way that your fingers do. Hammertoes refers to a deformity where one or more of your small toes develops a bend at the joint located between the first and second segments. The deformity causes the tips of the toes to bend downward so that the toes looks like a hammer or a claw. The second toe is the one that is affected most often.

How Hammertoes Develop

  • Tight or Ill-fitting Footwear

In most instances, hammertoes develop sure to wearing tight, ill-fitting or high-heeled shoes over a long time. When you wear shoes that don’t fit properly, it can crowd the toes and put pressure on the middle toes, which causes them to curl downward.

This condition is more likely to occur when the second toe is longer than the first one or in the case of flat arches.

  • Genetics

In some instances, hammertoes run in the family.

  • Bunions

A bunion is a large bump which causes the big toe to bend toward the other toes. The big toe can then crowd the other smaller toes.

If the toes remain in this position long enough, the tendons on top of the foot will tighten because they will not be stretched to their full length. Eventually, the tendons will shorten enough so that the toe stays bent even when you go barefoot.

How you Can Prevent Hammertoes

You can prevent hammertoes by making different choices in the type of footwear you choose to buy.

  • Choose shoes with wide or boxy toes compartments instead of narrow or pointed toes.
  • Buy shoes that are a half inch or longer than your longest toe.
  • Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes, which can force your toes forward and pinch them.
  • Never buy shoes that hurt your feet.

If you are concerned about foot pain and are wondering if you are developing hammertoes, contact Sheldon H. Nadal D.P.M for a detailed examination and diagnosis . He can discuss treatment options for hammertoes and other foot concerns. Fill out our appointment request form to arrange your personal consultation.