Hammertoes

Anderson Foot & Ankle Clinic

Mikol Anderson, DPM

Podiatrist Foot & Ankle Surgeon located in Salt Lake City, UT

Hammertoe is a common type of foot deformity in which your second toe joint permanently bends down to make an upside-down “V.” At Anderson Foot & Ankle Clinic, experienced podiatrist Mikol Anderson, DPM, offers skilled diagnosis and treatment for foot deformities of all kinds. There’s no reason to suffer hammertoe discomfort and embarrassment. Call the Salt Lake City, Utah, office or book an appointment using the online scheduler.

Hammertoes Q & A

What is a hammertoe?

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that usually affects the second joint in one or more of your smaller toes. It usually occurs in your second and third toes. With hammertoe, the joint contracts, pushing the middle of your toe up and the end of your toe down. 

This creates a tent shape when you view your toe from the side. There are two kinds of hammertoe, flexible and rigid. With flexible hammertoe, you can move the affected joint. With rigid hammertoe, the joint is frozen. 

What are mallet toe and claw toe?

Mallet and claw toes are two other types of toe deformities. A mallet toe contracts the joint in the same way that a hammertoe does, but it affects the third joint at the end of your toe rather than the middle joint. 

A claw toe combines hammertoe and mallet toe, causing joint contracture in both the second and third joints of a toe. Often, claw toe affects all of your smaller toes at once. 

Are hammertoes and bunions the same thing?

No, they’re two distinct toe deformities. Bunions usually affect the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint at the bottom of your big toe. Sometimes, bunions called tailor’s bunions also occur in the little toe. 

A bunion is a bony bump that stands out on the inner corner of your foot. This joint deformity forces your big toe to shift toward — or potentially even overlap — your little toes. 

How do you treat hammertoes?

As with all foot and toe deformities, it’s best to seek hammertoe treatment earlier rather than later. Untreated flexible hammertoe could become rigid, especially if you have a condition that damages your joints, like arthritis. Rigid hammertoe is far harder to treat. 

If you seek treatment early, Dr. Anderson can often prescribe effective nonsurgical treatments like: 

  • Strengthening exercises
  • Buddy-taping, which uses the neighboring toe for support
  • Night splints
  • Footwear changes, like swapping tight toe boxes for wide ones
  • Custom orthotics to correct underlying problems


In most cases, hammertoes, bunions, and other toe deformities respond well to conservative treatments. But, if you don’t seek treatment until the deformity is pronounced enough to alter your foot structure, you may need surgery. 

Dr. Anderson is highly educated in the latest surgical methods. Hammertoe and bunion surgery are far less invasive than ever before, and recovery time is much faster than you might expect. 

Book your appointment by calling Anderson Foot & Ankle Clinic, or use the online scheduling tool.