A deformity in the second, third, or forth toe that causes the toe to bend at the middle joint, making it look like a hammer, is called hammertoe. Hammertoes can lose flexibility, and deteriorate to the point of needing surgery if they are left untreated.
Hammertoe is a deformity or bending of the middle toe joint that makes it look like a hammer. Some complications of hammertoe include corns or calluses above the middle joint of the affected toe, or on the tip of the toe. Other complications include pain in the toes or feet, and difficulty in finding comfortable shoes.
Hammertoe may be caused by muscle imbalance, and by wearing shoes that don’t fit well.
If caught early enough, hammertoe can be treated by wearing shoes that are soft and roomy in the toe area, and by performing exercises to stretch and strengthen the affected muscles. Straps, cushions, or non-medicated corn pads, available over-the-counter, can also help alleviate discomfort.
Severe cases may require surgery.