Print Edition - 2018-07-19  |  Health and Living

What can you do about a hammertoe?

  • Ask Well

Jul 19, 2018-

The abnormal bending of the toe known as hammertoe can become increasingly uncomfortable as the toe curls under and becomes stiff and rigid over time. A corn, or thickened layer of skin, often develops as the elevated part of the toe rubs against one’s shoes and can become inflamed or infected.


Some people have a genetic predisposition toward developing a hammertoe or may have one from birth. Others develop a hammertoe after an injury. But wearing tight shoes, hand-me-down shoes or narrow or pointy shoes encourages development of the condition, especially if there is a genetic predisposition.

Hammertoes are also often accompanied by bunions, bony bumps that form at the base of the big toe and crowd the toes even more within the shoe, exacerbating the situation. Hammertoe may be manageable if you wear shoes with a wide toe box, make sure to wear the right size shoe and select shoes appropriate for whatever activity you’re engaging in. But the condition can be reversed by a quick surgical procedure “that takes only 15 minutes from start to finish,” say doctors. The surgery removes the corn and a small portion of the part of the knuckle that’s contracted, so the toe can relax. But doctors say the condition can recur, “especially if a person goes back to wearing high-heeled pointy-shaped shoes.”

Published: 19-07-2018 07:48

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