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Hammer Toe

Toe muscles have the function of straightening and curling the toes. However, if the toe is forced into a position for a long period of time, the muscles constrict and movement becomes limited.

This causes a muscle imbalance in the toes that can lead to ‘ Hammer Toe ’ – a condition where the toe curves down at the middle joint.



Hammer toes are painful. Because the toes often experience friction against tight shoes, they often become common sites for corns and calluses. They are most frequently caused by incorrect footwear which squeezes the toes into an abnormal position for extensive periods of time. Other causes can be:

  • Inherited from family genetics
  • Flat feet
  • Arthritis and other diseases
  • Pre-existing condition or injuries that cause irregular foot movement
  • Bunions

If caught and treated early, conservative non-surgical treatments including orthotics or stretching can be extremely effective to restore balance in the toe muscles. However, allowing it to progress to a later stage may result in surgery.


We recommend speaking to a podiatrist as soon as possible if you observe signs of hammer toe on your feet.

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