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What are Hammer Toes?

Hammer Toes occur when one or both joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth (little) toes start to bend. This abnormal bending can put pressure on the toe when wearing shoes, causing various problems such as pain on the toes when wearing shoes, corns on the toes and calluses (hard skin) on the bottom of the toe or on the ball of the foot.

Corns and calluses can be painful and make it difficult to find comfortable shoes. But even without corns and calluses, Hammer Toes can cause pain because the joint itself may become dislocated.

What Causes Hammer Toes?

The most common cause of Hammer Toes is a muscle/tendon imbalance. This imbalance, which leads to a bending of the toe, results from mechanical (structural) changes in the foot that occur over time in some people.

Hammer Toes are often aggravated by shoes that don't fit properly—for example, shoes that crowd the toes. Occasionally, Hammer Toes are caused by some kind of trauma, such as a previously broken toe. In some people, Hammer Toes are inherited.

This information is for guidance only. If you are in doubt at all, please consult your nearest health professional.