Hammertoes Specialist

Annapolis Foot and Ankle Center -  - Board Certified Foot and Ankle Surgeon

Annapolis Foot and Ankle Center

Board Certified Foot and Ankle Surgeons & Podiatrists located in Annapolis, Stevensville, & Glen Burnie, MD

You might not even realize it’s an issue, but a permanently bent joint in the middle of a toe is called a hammertoe. Annapolis Foot and Ankle Center in Annapolis, Stevensville, and Glen Burnie, Maryland, evaluates hammertoes and can provide nonsurgical treatment if the toe still has some flexibility. To schedule an evaluation with leading podiatrists Eric Harmelin, DPM, and Rikhil Patel, DPM, call Annapolis Foot and Ankle Center or book online today.

Hammertoes Q & A

What are hammertoes?

A hammertoe is a toe with a bend at the middle joint, and it may or may not be able to move at that joint. This usually happens to the second, third, or fourth toe and can be painful for some people. Because having hammertoes changes their position, they can rub together or against the insides of your shoes, putting you at a higher risk for corns and calluses.

Annapolis Foot and Ankle Center evaluates your hammertoes and may be able to stop them from worsening or treat the condition entirely. They assess the imbalance among the muscles in your toes causing the deformity and may order X-rays to evaluate the bones and joints.

What causes hammertoes?

Many behavioral, genetic, and clinical factors can contribute to or cause hammertoes. Annapolis Foot and Ankle Center helps you review your behaviors and explore the potential causes contributing to yours. The muscles within your toes can shorten and lead to hammertoes because of:

  • Shoes that are too narrow
  • Shoes that are too small
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Foot trauma
  • Cerebral vascular accident
  • Heredity


Your risk for hammertoes increases as you age and may also be higher than average if your second or third toe is longer than your big toe.

How are hammertoes treated?

The Annapolis Foot and Ankle Center team may ask that you try to move or bend your hammertoes to determine the severity.

Whether or not you can move or bend your toes determines the course of treatment you should take, and your providers will plan your care based on the contributing factors and the condition’s severity.

If you’re still able to flex your hammertoes, your providers may suggest some simple exercises and physical therapy. You should also be sure to wear shoes that fit well with plenty of room for your toes.

Sometimes, orthotic inserts or pads can reposition your toes within your shoe to relieve some of the pressure keeping them bent.

How does surgery for hammertoes work?

Hammertoes that you can’t flex might need surgical intervention. If your hammertoes are rigid, Annapolis Foot and Ankle Center can plan and perform surgery to realign the muscles and tendons. They might need to place temporary pins to keep the toe straight or remove small fragments of bone to rebalance the toe.

Post-surgery aftercare is equally as important as the surgery itself. Exercises that your surgeon recommends can help strengthen the toe as it heals. These might involve picking up marbles with your toes or using them to crumple a towel.

Wearing non-heeled shoes is imperative after surgery, and you should make sure they allow your toes at least a half-inch of space in the front.

To schedule a consultation for a hammertoes diagnosis and treatment, call Annapolis Foot and Ankle Center or book an appointment online today.

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