Go to navigation Go to content
Phone: 630-834-3668
Prairie Path Foot & Ankle Clinic

How did I get a hammertoe?


In most cases, hammertoes develop due to our genetics.  Very often, people with hammertoes have parents who have or have had hammertoes.  Our genes can result in strengths and weaknesses of various small muscles that our feet rely on for stability and also dictate what foot type you develop and this also affects the push and pull of muscles in our feet.  The end result in the case of hammertoes is that one group of muscles wins the anatomical tug-of-war and this causes the toes to become contracted.

Hammertoes occur in both 'flat' and 'high arched' feet.  In order to stabilize the foot while walking, sometimes the tendons that flex the toes are used more often to grip the floor and give you additional support.  Over time, these tendons can become shorter and eventually may not allow the toe to return to a straight position.  Over an even longer period of time, the joints that are contracted may adapt to this deformity making it even more difficult for the toe to straighten out.

In some, more rare, instances, hammertoes can be brought on due to an injury.  A ligament in the ball of the foot can be overstretched and torn, leading to instability and the toe raising up.  In reaction to this, the toe may contract down to help stabilize the foot and this creates a similar deformity.

Contact our office today if you have a curly toe that's getting you down!  We will provide you with the information and treatment that you need!