Manhattan Foot Specialists
  • MIDTOWN 51 EAST 25TH, STE 451 New York, NY, 10010
  • UPPER EAST SIDE 983 PARK AVE, STE 1D14 New York, NY, 10028
  • UNION SQUARE 55 W. 17TH ST STE 106 New York, NY, 10011
Updated on Jul 29, 2021 by Dr. Mohammad Rimawi (Podiatrist) of Manhattan Foot Specialists

What is Hammer Toes?

A hammertoe is a deformity where the toe is bent downward. Hammertoe deformities usually start as flexible but become painful or stiff over time, making fitting into shoes difficult. People often develop corns or calluses on their toes which cause even more pain. Our Podiatrists, Midtown, NYC foot doctor, will explain your best options to fix your hammertoe pain. All symptoms should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by your podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to exclude any underlying serious condition.

Hammer Toe Causes

Hammer Toes Specialist NYC
The toes are kept straight by multiple muscles that connect all around the toe. If one muscle group starts to overpower the other, your toe can become bent and bent. We frequently see hammertoes develop in those with other foot deformities, specifically, with a flat foot, tight calf muscles, and high arch feet. Hammertoes can develop for a variety of reasons as your top NYC foot doctor. Our foot doctor will explain what other foot issues you may have that have lead to your hammertoe during your visit. Your foot structure, some diseases, and even the shoes you wear can lead to this condition. The most common causes include:

  • Shoes: Wearing high-heeled shoes or shoes that don’t have enough room in the toe box can cause your toes to be so crowded that they can’t lie flat. If your toes are in this position too much, they can eventually stay that way.
  • Abnormal balance of toe muscles: This leads to instability of your foot, which can cause the muscles of your toe to contract.
  • Trauma: Any injury that introduces blunt force to your toe — whether you stub, jam, or break it — makes it more likely that hammertoe or mallet toe develops.

Other causes of a hammertoe include:

  • a traumatic toe injury;
  • arthritis;
  • an unusually high foot arch;
  • tightened ligaments or tendons in the foot;
  • pressure from a bunion, which is when your big toe points inward toward your second toe. Pressure from a bunion can be easily resolved by bilateral bunion surgery. Our bunion surgeon can remove the bump from the big toe joint and shift the bone over.

What Are the Symptoms of Hammer Toe?

If you have a hammertoe, the joints within your toes may appear with corns on the skin. Certain shoes may cause pain due to the joint rubbing on the top of your shoes. If this deformity becomes painful, your midtown NYC foot doctor can offer solutions. If the pain is persistent and it becomes difficult to walk, it is time to see a top podiatry doctor for a diagnosis. Diagnosing hammertoe or mallet toe may be a simple matter of examining your foot. Your foot doctor in NYC may order X-rays to do a complete evaluation of the bones and joints in your foot.

Hammer Toe Risk factors

Certain risk factors increase your likelihood of developing a hammertoe. These include:

  • a family history of hammertoe
  • wearing tight or pointy-toed shoes
  • having calluses, bunions, or corns, which are thickened layers of skin caused by prolonged and repeated friction

Be Prepared for Your Appointment

Your primary care physician may refer you to a good podiatrist for specialized hammertoe treatment. Before your appointment, make a list of all your symptoms — even those you might think are unrelated to your feet. Your Midtown NYC foot doctor takes a complete medical history, but you should be prepared to ask questions, too:

  • Do any of my medications, including supplements and doses, affect my feet?
  • What’s causing my foot pain, and what can I do about it?
  • What can I do to avoid hammertoe surgery, or should I see a foot surgeon?
  • Is this a temporary condition?
  • What’s the best thing to do right now?


★ ★ ★ ★ ★I was taken in immediately, no wait, even before all the paperwork was completed. Everyone was professional, and I left with a care plan that would put me on the path to healing.

Hammertoe Treatment

Depending upon the flexibility of your affected toes, your midtown foot doctor may suggest that you wear shoes with more room for your toes. You may benefit from wearing orthotics, too. You can also try footpads that cushion and reposition your toe to relieve pressure and pain. A good NYC podiatrist may recommend physical therapy to help alleviate your symptoms.

If these conservative hammertoe treatments and exercises don’t help ease your discomfort, your foot doctor may suggest surgery to straighten the toes.  Surgery involves tendon and bone manipulation to correct the deformity, and generally, the patient can place weight on the foot immediately after surgery.  Make sure to visit a top podiatry doctor to ensure the best results to straighten your toe.

Tricks to Alleviate Hammer Toe Pain

When you have a hammertoe or a mallet toe, wear proper fitting footwear. Always wear low-heeled shoes with a wide-toe box. Your shoes should also have flexible material over your toes to accommodate your toes comfortably and give them room to stretch. Ensure your shoes have at least a half-inch of space between the tip of your longest toe and the inside front of your shoe.

Also, avoid over-the-counter medicated corn removal products; they often contain acid, which can irritate your skin. Don’t attempt to shave or remove corns from a toe yourself. Foot wounds can become infected easily, and they’re difficult to treat. Healing can be slow, especially if you have diabetes or poor circulation. A podiatrist in NYC should handle corn removal.

Can Hammer Toe Be Prevented?

You can prevent some ankleheel, and foot pain simply by wearing supportive shoes. When buying footwear, follow these guidelines from your NYC podiatrist for proper fit:

  • Leave room for your toes: Avoid shoes with pointed toes, whether flats or high-heeled.
  • Wear low heels: Wearing low heels also helps prevent back problems and tight calves.
  • Opt for flexibility: Shoes with laces or straps have more room and are adjustable.

In addition, consider these shoe-buying tips that help you make the best choices for your feet in the long run. New York City podiatrist recommends:

  • Buy shoes that fit: Be sure that shoes fit well and are comfortable before you purchase them. Sometimes, a shoe repair store can stretch them to fit, but they should fit well before you leave the shoe store.
  • Buy shoes at the end of the day: Our feet are at their biggest at the end of the day, so shopping at that time gives you the best fit. If the shoes have enough room then, they should be comfortable throughout the day.
  • Check your size: Have your feet measured to make sure you wear the size you think you do. As you age, your feet may grow, especially in width. Always measure both feet, and buy shoes to fit the bigger foot.

Your Midtown NYC foot doctor can help you with hammertoe treatment that is the best for your particular situation. You can avoid foot pain now and avoid problems in the future.

Do you have any questions about hammertoes treatment in NYC? Would you like to schedule an appointment with an internationally recognized, top-rated podiatrist and leading foot doctor at Podiatry Midtown specialists?  Please contact our office for a consultation.

Dr. Mohammad Rimawi has either authored or reviewed and approved this content. New York City Locations Manhattan Foot Specialists (Upper East Side) 983 Park Ave, Ste 1D14, New York, NY 10028
(212) 389-1886
Manhattan Foot Specialists (Midtown) 51 East 25th Street, Ste 451, NY 10010
(212) 389-9918
Manhattan Foot Specialists (Union Square) 55 W 17th St Ste 106, NY 10011
(212) 378-9991
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY The information on this website is to provide general information. The information on this website does NOT reflect definitive medical advice and self diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a physician for a consultation and examination regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs you may be having. An accurate diagnosis and treatment plan should only be made by a qualified foot and ankle specialist in order to exclude a serious condition.