Hammertoe Diagnosis & Treatment

If you are experiencing pain, discomfort, or difficulty walking due to a hammertoe, make an appointment with your doctor for an evaluation. Your doctor will conduct a physical exam and possibly request X-rays to determine the severity of the issue. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, several possible treatments are available for the Evergreen hammer toe.

How serious is a hammer toe?

The severity of a hammertoe varies. Some may be flexible and still moveable, while others may be rigid and fixed in place. Depending on the severity, your doctor will recommend various treatments to help you manage the condition.

Before you learn of the treatment options, below you will find the causes and symptoms of hammer toe.

Causes of hammer toe

These are some of the causes:

  • Wearing shoes that are too tight or too short: Tight shoes force your toes into a bent position, which can cause the tendons to shorten and become unable to straighten out the toe.
  • Having an inflammatory joint condition such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or psoriatic arthritis: These conditions can lead to damage of the tendons in the foot due to inflammation.
  • Having an inherited foot structure: Some people are born with a predisposition to hammer toe due to the shape of the bones in their feet.
  • Trauma or injury: Injuries can cause damage to your tendons, leading to a hammertoe deformity.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes can lead to nerve and muscle damage, resulting in hammertoe.

Symptoms of hammer toe

Here are some of the common signs and symptoms:

  • Pain or soreness in your toes: You may experience pain when you put on shoes, walk or even move your toes. The pain can be intense and may lead to calluses or corns.
  • Difficulty moving your toes: The toe may be stuck in a bent position, making it difficult for you to move them freely.
  • Clawed or deformed toes: Your toes may look curled up due to the contracture of the tendons.
  • Redness and swelling: You may notice redness and swelling around the affected toe.

Once your doctor has diagnosed you with hammertoe, they will recommend one of the following treatment options:

Change in footwear

Did you know that changing the type of shoes you wear could help improve your hammertoe? Your doctor may advise switching to roomier and more comfortable shoes with a wide-toe box. This will allow your toes to move freely and help reduce pressure in the affected area.

Orthotic devices

Your doctor may recommend using orthotic devices such as toe splints, caps, and shoe inserts. These devices can help your toes relax and give them more room in the shoe, thus alleviating pressure and discomfort.


Sometimes, your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or corticosteroids to reduce pain and swelling.

Physical therapy

Your doctor may advise physical therapy sessions to help reduce pain and inflammation. Exercises such as toe stretches and range-of-motion exercises can help strengthen your toes and restore flexibility.


If the above treatments do not improve your condition, your doctor may recommend surgery to correct the deformity. The type of surgery depends on the severity of the hammertoe. It can involve cutting and releasing the tendons, realigning or reshaping bones, and removing any extra tissue causing pain or discomfort.

Don’t let hammertoe get in the way of your life. Make an appointment with your doctor at Rocky Mountain Foot and Ankle Center.