In most cases, surgical correction of hammertoes is a minor procedure with long-lasting correction and minimal recuperation time.


Hammertoe is a term used to describe a group of bone deformities in one of the toes (typically the one next to the big toe). These deformities can be broken down into three conditions that are defined by where or how the toe is abnormally bent:

  • Classic hammertoe: When the toe only bends at the joint closest to the foot
  • Mallet toe: When the toe bends at the joint closest to the nail
  • Claw toe: When the toe bends at both joints

What Causes Hammertoes?

All three types of hammertoes generally result from the same causes. These causes include:

  • Fancy footwear: High-heeled or tight footwear can jam the toes together in a space that does not allow them to lie flat and forces them to rub against one another
  • Nerve conditions: Hammertoes are more common in those with nerve damage in their feet from conditions, such as diabetic neuropathy or stroke
  • Toe trauma: Injuries, such as breaking or jamming a toe, leave the toe more prone to developing hammertoe

What Are the Treatments for Hammertoe?

Hammertoe remedies typically include:

  • Exercises that stretch and strengthen toe muscles, such as picking up a towel off the floor with your toes
  • Purchasing shoes that have room for the toes with high toe boxes and/or soft stretchy uppers
  • Shoe stretching to accommodate the prominent joint
  • The use of pads and shields that reposition the toe to relieve pain and pressure
  • Using a pumice stone to remove calluses that may form
  • Using creams to moisturize and soften any corns that form
  • Hammertoe correcting devices such as a Budin Splint or a crest sling to temporarily correct the toe


In addition, certain types of arthroplasty surgery may be an option when all other traditional methods of treatment have failed. In most cases, the surgery is a minor procedure with long-lasting results and minimal downtime.

Where to Go for Hammertoe

Essex Union Podiatry is a complete foot and ankle practice serving the podiatric needs of Essex and Union counties. Our specialty trained physicians utilize the latest techniques and tools to diagnose, treat and provide preventative care for all foot and ankle conditions. With an emphasis on patient education, our practice offers quality care by creating an informative and personalized treatment plan tailored to meet individual needs.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our hammertoe specialists, give us a call at (973) 376-8210 or contact Essex Union Podiatry today.

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      Meet Our Doctors

      The physicians of Essex Union Podiatry are experienced and dedicated professionals trained in various subspecialties of podiatry care. Click on the pictures below to learn more about our doctors.

      Jason P. Galante, DPM,

      Jason Galante, DPM, AASPS

      Nancy A. Kaplan, DPM, MBA, AACHE, FACFAS


      Sarah E. Haller, DPM, AACFAS