Hammertoe is a contracture (bending) of one or both joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth (little) toes. This abnormal bending can put pressure on the toe when wearing shoes, causing problems to develop.

Because of the progressive nature of hammertoes, they should receive early attention. Hammertoes never get better without some kind of intervention.

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Presenting symptoms of hammer toe include a claw like appearance where the toes seem to be gripping the floor, this can lead to pain or irritation, tightness of footwear, corns on the dorsal surface (top) of the toes and pressure sores on the distal tip (end) of the toe.

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The most common cause of hammertoe is a muscle/tendon imbalance. This imbalance, which leads to a bending of the toe, results from mechanical (structural) changes in the foot that occur over time in some people.

Hammertoes may be aggravated by shoes that don’t fit properly. A hammertoe may result if a toe is too long and is forced into a cramped position when a tight shoe is worn.

Occasionally, hammertoe is the result of an earlier trauma to the toe. In some people, hammertoes are inherited.

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Hammertoes are progressive – they don’t go away by themselves and usually they will get worse over time. However, not all cases are alike – some hammertoes progress more rapidly than others. After a consultation by the Foot & Insole Specialist, a customised insole can be created to reduce pressure/tension in the toes depending upon the severity of your hammertoe and other factors.

  • Padding corns and calluses to shield corns from irritation
  • Changes in footwear. Avoid shoes with pointed toes, shoes that are too short, or shoes with high heels – conditions that can force your toe against the front of the shoe. Instead, choose comfortable shoes with a deep, roomy toe box and heels no higher than two inches.
  • Custom made insoles. A custom made insole can be created to help control the muscle/tendon imbalance and reduce pressure on the toes.
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This condition Explained


“Here at The Foot & Insole Specialist we are able to build a unique, three-dimensional insole that follows the exact contours of your feet. The state-of-the-art thermo moulding technology enables me to create an insole to cup and stabilise the heel, support the high arch and create contact and support throughout the foot. By having access to the best materials we can build a supportive insole to redistribute pressures away from the digits and offer extra cushioning to the distal tips of the toes.