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Hammer Toe

Choice of footwear is often to blame with too short or too tight a shoe fit sometimes pushing the toe backwards and forcing the joint to take evasive action by 'ducking' downwards. Likewise, bunions can often make the big toe move sideways to invade the space of its nearest neighbour.

Poor foot mechanics are also common causes. When the natural walking action is distorted, this can in turn throw too much force onto the forefoot and cause the affected toe to buckle downwards in response to the pressure.

Not only are hammer toes painful and unsightly in themselves, they can also produce painful side effects. The unnatural position of the toe means its tip and top of the joint are exposed to additional rubbing, which can often lead to blisters, calluses and corns. Additionally, the new, downward pressure on the tip also increases the likelihood of an ingrown nail occurring.


The end joint of the toe curls in on itself rather than standing out straight. This might not be immediately obvious and a more obvious symptom of a hammer toe is when a corn develops on the top of the toe. There may also be a callus at the base of the toe where it joins the sole of the foot. Initially a hammer toe will be flexible but it can become rigid over time.

  • Scholl Foam Toe Separators provide immediate relief from the pain and soreness associated with toes rubbing together
  • Scholl Gel Toe Separators with Soft Gel Technology offer clear and discreet cushioning protection and are slim, soft and conformable for optimum comfort
  • The Scholl Gel Toe Spreader with Soft Gel Technology provides relief from the pain of overlapping toes and reduces friction and rubbing on adjacent toes

Regular use of a specialist foot moisturising product such as Scholl Deep Moisturising Cream can help prevent calluses and corns from developing on skin made vulnerable by the rubbing associated with hammer toes.

Some hammer toe conditions do need surgical solutions. Your GP or podiatrist will provide all the advice and help you may require. Hammer toe can be symptomatic of more serious afflictions such as rheumatoid arthritis. If the complaint is persistent, or does not respond to treatment, always consult your doctor or foot specialist.


Ensuring your shoes fit correctly and getting treatment for other associated conditions could help prevent hammer toes.

Consult your doctor or pharmacist or healthcare assistant for advice or if you have an underlying medical condition, are taking any other medication or complementary therapy, or if symptoms persist.

Also seek advice on footcare if you are breastfeeding, pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or suffer from diabetes or allergies