If you frequently wear high heels or shoes too tight, your risk for developing painful hammertoes increases. At C&S Foot and Ankle, Scott Norris, DPM, and Camille Christensen, DPM, provide comprehensive care for hammer toe deformities, including diagnostic imaging technology and customized treatment plans. The skilled medical team realigns your toe joints using minimally invasive and advanced surgical techniques. Call the office in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, to schedule a consultation for hammertoes or book an appointment online today.

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What are hammer toes?

Hammertoes are a deformity of the second, third, or fourth toes that develops when there’s an imbalance in the foot muscles. The imbalance puts pressure on the tendons and joints of your toes, causing them to tighten up and bend at the middle joint.

One of the most common causes of hammertoes is ill-fitting shoes. Shoes that are too narrow or too tight can push your big toe toward the smaller toes.

Hammertoes can also develop after trauma to your foot or toes.

When should I seek treatment for hammer toes?

In the early stages, hammertoes remain flexible. Over time, they can become rigid and remain bent in a hammer-like position. For this reason, it’s important that you schedule a diagnostic evaluation at C&S Foot and Ankle as soon as you notice symptoms developing.

In addition to a noticeable bend in the toe joints, symptoms of hammertoes can include:

  • Toe pain
  • Corns
  • Calluses
  • Difficulty walking
  • Inability to straighten toes

The team offers physical exams of your toes to assess the severity of your condition. They may also recommend X-rays or other diagnostic imaging tests to get a closer look at the joints in your toes, so they can create a treatment plan for your needs.

How are hammer toes treated?

If your toes are still flexible, the C&S Foot and Ankle team can often treat hammertoes successfully with a minimally invasive flexor tenotomy procedure.

This type of surgery requires only small incisions to access and release overly tight tendons in your foot. After releasing the tendons, your provider realigns your toe joint.

When your hammertoes become rigid, you may need a more invasive surgery such as:


Arthroplasty is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of a small piece of bone to shorten your toe. This treatment helps straighten the toe bone to correct a hammertoe deformity.


Arthrodesis is a surgery to fuse two or more joint bones together. During this procedure, your surgeon cuts off the bone ends and fuses the remaining bone together. Surgery stabilizes the joint and prevents bending in the toes.

The team also provides resources to lower your risk for additional hammertoes. They can recommend changes to your footwear, custom orthotics, and other strategies to reduce unnecessary pressure on your toes.

Services are also available to address bothersome corns and calluses that can develop when wearing narrow or tight shoes.

Call C&S Foot and Ankle to schedule a diagnostic evaluation for hammer toes or book an appointment online today.