Now seeing patients in Clarksville! Schedule an appointment at an office near you today. 
Skip to main content


Neuhaus Foot & Ankle

Podiatrists Specializing in Foot and Ankle Pain and Injuries Located in Nashville and across Middle Tennessee

Hammertoes can change the appearance of your feet and cause pain and calluses, but treatment at Neuhaus Foot & Ankle can restore your feet to good health. The team of doctors has more than 50 years of combined podiatric experience so you get treatment from experts you can trust. With locations in Hermitage, Brentwood, Nashville, Mount Juliet, Waverly, Smyrna, Gallatin, Shelbyville, Goodlettsville, Clarksville and Lebanon, Tennessee, you can get care at your convenience. Call Neuhaus Foot & Ankle or schedule an appointment online today to learn more.

Hammertoe Q & A

What is a hammertoe?

A hammertoe is a deformity of your toe – typically the second, third, or fourth – in which the toe is bent upward at the middle joint and downward at the point of your toe.

Hammertoes can cause pain and difficulty walking, and it can be difficult to find shoes that comfortably fit. Without treatment, a hammertoe can become rigid and may require surgery in order to straighten the toe again.

What causes a hammertoe?

There are two main causes of a hammertoe:

  • A muscle imbalance in your foot and lower leg
  • Wearing shoes that don’t fit properly

In either situation, the muscles in your toes will tighten to help you walk and stand or fit into your shoes. Over time, these tight muscles can permanently shorten, causing stiffness and rigidity at the joints of your toe.

In other cases, hammertoes are the result of another medical condition. Diabetic neuropathy and nerve damage caused by a stroke or spinal injury can create problems with the muscles in your feet and lower legs, too.

What other problems can a hammertoe cause?

Since a hammertoe affects the muscles in your feet and surrounding soft tissues, other problems can develop, including:

  • Corns on the top of or between toes
  • Corns or calluses under the ball of your foot
  • Pain in the ball of your foot
  • Arthritis
  • Bunions
  • Flat feet
  • Knuckle pads – areas of thickened, discolored skin over the joints of the toe

Many of these issues are related to the deformity of a hammertoe and the excess pressure and friction your hammertoe experiences when wearing shoes.

How are hammertoes treated?

If your doctor at Neuhaus Foot & Ankle diagnoses a hammertoe, your treatment will depend on the amount of flexibility in your toe. For hammertoes that can be pulled straight, specialized exercises can help stretch tight muscles and strengthen weak muscles in your foot and lower leg.

Custom made orthotics, insoles from Powerstep®, and pads from Dr. Jill’s Foot Pads, Inc., can give your feet support and protection to prevent discomfort and corns and calluses a hammertoe causes.

In severe cases – when your hammertoe cannot be straightened or you are developing wounds due to the hammertoe – your doctor may recommend surgical treatment. Surgeries for hammertoe aim to restructure the affected joints so that your toe can be straightened again.

Learn about your options for hammertoe treatment with a visit to Neuhaus Foot & Ankle. Call or use the online portal to schedule a visit now.

Fax: (615) 220-8688