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Hammer Toe

hammer toe or contracted toe is a deformity of the proximal interphalangeal joint of the second, third, or fourth toe causing it to be permanently bent, resembling a hammer.

Mallet toe is a similar condition affecting the distal interphalangeal joint.

Claw toe is another similar condition, with dorsiflexion of the proximal phalanx on the lesser metatarsophalangeal joint, combined with flexion of both the proximal and distal interphalangeal joints. Claw toe can affect the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes.


Hammer toe most frequently results from wearing poorly fitting shoes that can force the toe into a bent position, such as excessively high heels or shoes that are too short or narrow for the foot. Having the toes bent for long periods of time can cause the muscles in them to shorten, resulting in the hammer toe deformity. This is often found in conjunction with bunions or other foot problems.

In many cases, conservative treatment consisting of wearing Foot Control and Support Systems, physical therapy and new shoes with soft, spacious toe boxes is enough to resolve the condition.  Because Foot Control and Support Systems supports all 3 arches of the foot as well as keep the heel bone in proper alignment throughout the gait cycle Foot Control and Support Systems is successful in correcting the biomechanical problems that cause most foot related problems to develop.

The metatarsal pad incorporated in the Foot Control and Support Systems will apply the proper amount of pressure on the metatarsal arch to separate the metatarsal bones to their anatomically correct position giving the muscles in the foot the exercise they need to strengthen and aid in stretching the toes back to their proper shape. Physical therapy may consist of some toe exercises that can be done at home to stretch and strengthen the muscles.

  • For example, the individual can gently stretch the toes manually, or use the toes to pick things up off the floor. While watching television or reading, one can put a towel flat under the feet and use the toes to crumple it. 
  • The metatarsal pad built into the design of Foot Control and Support Systems works like these physical therapy exercises, giving your feet therapy all day. 

Some doctors prescribe a brace that pushes down on the toes to force them to stretch out their muscles, while in more severe or longstanding cases orthopedic surgery may be necessary to correct the deformity.

How does Foot Control and Support Systems help me do all this?

Other foot related problems