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Gregory Loo, DPM Board Certified Podiatrist and Surgeon
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Toe Stretches May Help Hammertoe

Tuesday, 31 January 2023 00:00

The foot condition known as hammertoe is easy to notice. It causes the second or third toe to bend downward at the tip, forcing the toe upward at the middle joint resembling a hammer. It is considered to be a deformity and corns may develop on top of the joint as it rubs against the shoe. Additional symptoms may include swollen toes, pain in the affected joint, and difficulty walking. Practicing toe stretches can be an effective hammertoe exercise. This is done by getting into a runner’s starting position and shifting the body’s weight over the toes. Hold for several seconds while the toes are pressed against the floor. Another exercise is called toe flexion and extension and starts with sitting with the legs straight out. After placing the affected foot over the opposite knee, the toes can be pulled back and pointed as best as possible. This may be difficult to accomplish, depending on the severity of the hammertoe. If you are afflicted with this condition, you must be under the care of a podiatrist who can help you with proper treatment which may include surgery to permanently straighten the toes.

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact the podiatrists of Elite Podiatry. Our doctors will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.


Hammertoe is a foot deformity that occurs due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight. It can be caused by the type of shoes you wear, your foot structure, trauma, and certain disease processes.


  • Painful and/or difficult toe movement
  • Swelling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Calluses/Corns
  • Physical deformity

Risk Factors

  • Age – The risk of hammertoe increases with age
  • Sex – Women are more likely to have hammertoe compared to men
  • Toe Length – You are more likely to develop hammertoe if your second toe is longer than your big toe
  • Certain Diseases – Arthritis and diabetes may make you more likely to develop hammertoe


If you have hammertoe, you should change into a more comfortable shoe that provides enough room for your toes. Exercises such as picking up marbles may strengthen and stretch your toe muscles. Nevertheless, it is important to seek assistance from a podiatrist in order to determine the severity of your hammertoe and see which treatment option will work best for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Ahwatukee, Phoenix, and Chandler, AZ . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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