A hammertoe is a deformity of the second, third or fourth toes in which the main toe joint is bent upward like a claw. Initially, hammertoes are flexible and can be corrected with simple measures. Left untreated, they can become fixed and require surgery. Hammertoe results from shoes that don't fit properly or a muscle imbalance, usually in combination with one or more other factors. Muscles work in pairs to straighten and bend the toes. If the toe is bent and held in one position long enough, the muscles tighten and can't stretch out.
Our Approach to Hammertoe
If treated early, while the affected toe is still flexible, hammertoe can be corrected with simple measures, such as properly fitted shoes and special inserts or pads. If the toe is left untreated and loses flexibility, however, surgery is the only treatment option. The procedure we use depends on the type and severity of the deformity.
Our team includes highly trained orthopedic surgeons who specialize in the ankle and foot, as well as podiatrists, physical therapists and pedorthists (specialists in modified footwear and supportive devices for the lower leg). Our goals are to relieve pain and restore mobility, so patients can return to their normal lives and the activities they enjoy. We offer doctor's appointments, medical imaging and physical therapy services in one convenient location.
Awards & recognition
Among the top hospitals in the nation
One of the nation's best for orthopedic care
UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.