This is demonstrable by a contracture of 1 or both joints at the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th toes. Abnormal bending can put pressure on the toes especially with poor footwear.
Initially hammer toes can be flexible however if left untreated they can become rigid and will not respond to non-surgical treatment.
Because of the progressive nature of hammertoes, they should receive early attention. Hammertoes never get better without some kind of intervention.
The most common cause of hammertoe is a muscle/tendon imbalance. This imbalance, which leads to a bending of the toe, results from mechanical (structural) changes in the foot that occur over time in some people. Hammertoes may be aggravated by shoes that don’t fit properly.
Occasionally, hammertoe is the result of an earlier trauma to the toe. In some people, hammertoes are inherited.