Hammertoe Pain Treatment: Surgical and Non-Surgical Options

Claw, Mallet or Rotated Toe—Causes, Symptoms and Prevention Tips

Suspect you’ve got a hammertoe? If you’ve got swelling, pain in the top of your toes or your toes bend backward or up, you might be right.

How To Treat Hammertoes Milwaukee

Our Milwaukee podiatrists help you relieve pain and keep your feet healthy and happy!

With more than 200,000 cases per year, hammertoes represent one of the most common, treatable foot conditions. Our podiatrists have the expertise to diagnose and treat problems in relation to hammertoes, whether it involve home exercises or surgery. If you’ve got pain in one of your toes and have noticed a callus, corn, or debilitating stiffness in your feet, contact us NOW to schedule an appointment.

What is a Hammertoe Deformity?

A hammertoe is a deformity causing your toes to bend downward instead of forward.

A hammertoe deformity is pretty easy to diagnose. Identified by the unnatural bending at the middle of a toe, hammertoes bend downward and resemble the same of a hammer. Sometimes referred to as “claw toe,” “mallet toe” or “rotated toe,” a hammer toe may affect any of your toes—though they most often occur on the second or third toe.

What Causes a Hammertoe?

Although an individual can be born with a hammertoe, it is most common to develop a hammertoe as the result of wearing a close toed shoe or high heels on a regular basis.

Common causes of a hammertoe:

  • Serious toe injuries - stubs, jams, breaks
  • Arthritis
  • Improperly fitting shoes - high heels or other tight footwear
  • Muscle imbalance
  • Nerve injuries or disorders

An excessive amount of pressure put on your toes can cause the middle joint of any toe to dislocate. The result is severe pain and discomfort.


Hammertoe Symptoms: Breaking Down the Pain

The side effects of a hammertoe extend far beyond the initial pain of the condition. If you do not have a family history or known genetic condition relating to hammertoes, you could be at serious risk of developing more hammertoes or other painful deformities including blisters, corns, and bunions. If the symptoms you are experiencing are similar to those of a bunion, there is a good possibility you may be dealing with a forming hammertoe. Keep on the lookout for other hammertoe symptoms, including:

  1. Downward bending toes
  2. Swelling of your toes or foot
  3. The development of other painful deformities like corns, blisters or calluses
  4. Pain at the top of your toes when putting on shoes
  5. Intense pain keeping you from walking
  6. Stiff feet with no ability to move your toes

Hammertoe Treatments With & Without Surgery

Hammertoes are easy to self-diagnose, and temporary relief is relatively simple. At this point, if you think your toe pain is the result of hammertoe, it is time you work towards treating and preventing further development. You can choose to live with the pain hammertoes bring, but the pain will only get worse and cause the development of other painful toe deformities.

Hammertoe Treatment Options Milwaukee

Take care of your feet! Cutting corners and ignoring pain can only make things much worse.

In today’s world, natural treatments and professional surgery exist as solutions for hammertoes. Knowing the severity of your condition will be the key in understanding whether or not you need attention from a hammertoe specialist or if you will be able to treat your hammertoes from home.

How to Prevent Hammertoes

Whether you have a fully established hammertoe or not, before beginning treatment you must understand the basics of preventing hammertoes. Choosing to practice some of these recommendations should help reduce your toe pain and decrease your chance of developing other painful deformities.

In order to prevent hammertoes before and after treatment, you should:

  1. Wear open toed shoes fitted to your feet comfortably
  2. Exercise and stretch your toes on a daily basis to reduce stiffness
  3. Do not wear shoes with heels higher than 2 inches
  4. Measure your feet as you age to prevent buying improper shoes
  5. Apply ice packs when you are resting to help reduce swelling

The Cost & Recovery Time of Hammertoe Surgery

At home treatments can buy you some time, but they won’t buy you the permanent fix you’re looking for your hammertoes. If you are experiencing daily, never ending toe pain, an open toed shoe and warm bath can only provide so much relief. The idea of surgery may seem dramatic or it may overwhelm you, but at the end of the day, it’s the only real solution.


Hammertoe correction surgery is about the same cost of fixing a fractured foot. Depending on the severity of the hammertoe, it can take between one month and three months to recover, but after the surgery has been performed and you have made the right corrections in your life to prevent more hammertoes from forming, the time and money is always worth the treatment.


If you are convinced you have hammertoes, do not waste any more time ignoring the pain and wishing it away. Take the next step towards improving the quality of your life and contact Advanced Foot and Ankle for a professional consultation today.

Not all hammertoes require surgery. But if your toe pain is keeping you from living life the way you want, have a professional check it out and give you a viable treatment before you commit to a life of discomfort.

Our Milwaukee Podiatrists Know Feet. Bring Us Yours.

Toe pain can keep men and women of all ages from doing the things they love – and the things they need to do on a daily basis. Don’t let your hammertoe debilitate you. Our group of talented and experienced foot and ankle doctors have the knowledge and expertise they need to correctly diagnose and treat you the first time. Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Advanced Foot & Ankle is prepared to make sure your hammertoe no longer keeps you from living the life you’re used to. Whether we provide you with medication, custom orthotics, or comprehensive surgical solutions, you will be on your way to a better day and life, hammertoe free!

Contact our foot specialists today to get more information on our hammertoe treatment options.