Find Out What Causes Hammertoe

Woman with a hammertoe

A hammertoe occurs due to a muscle and ligament imbalance in the toe joints in which the middle toe joint becomes stuck in a bent position. The irregular position often causes rubbing and irritation on the top of the affected toe. Let the specialists at Foot and Ankle Specialists of Central PA help you understand what causes hammertoe and how it can be treated.

Symptoms Of Hammertoe

Here are some of the common symptoms of hammertoe:

  • Hammer- or claw-shaped toe
  • Pain when walking or moving your foot
  • Difficulty moving your toe
  • Corns on top of the bent toe
  • Calluses on the sole of your foot

In the initial stages, you can still manually straighten the toe, meaning you have a flexible hammertoe. Over time, if left untreated, the toe becomes harder to move and will become stuck in the bent position.

What Causes Hammertoe?

The main cause of hammertoe is unhealthy footwear, such as heels or shoes that are too small. Shoes that prevent the toes from lying flat are the biggest cause of hammertoes. Other factors include:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Injury or trauma resulting in a broken or jammed toe
  • Diseases that affect the impacting nerves and muscles, including arthritis
  • Nerve or muscle damage
  • Foot injury

Your doctor at Foot and Ankle Specialists of Central PA will help you understand how to prevent further damage.

Hammertoe Treatment

If you can still bend the toe, we may prescribe conservative care, such as padding and strapping that relieves the pressure and purchasing shoes with a deep toe box that are long and wide enough to accommodate the bent toes.

The hope is that early intervention may prevent the need for surgery. However, if you can't manually bend your toe, surgery may be recommended. Each case is different, and your doctor will tailor a course of treatment to meet your specific needs.

Contact Us

Overcome painful conditions with the help of Foot and Ankle Specialists of Central PA. We're located in Mechanicsburg, PA, and our staff consists of board-certified experts who can treat hammertoe and other foot and ankle issues. Contact us with your questions or to set up an appointment.

Hours of Operation

Check out our schedule


8:00 AM-5:00 PM


8:00 AM-5:00 PM


8:00 AM-5:00 PM


8:00 AM-5:00 PM


8:00 AM-5:00 PM





Our Location

Find us on the map