NYC Foot & Ankle Center
NYC Foot & Ankle Center


Podiatry located in Manhattan Valley neighborhood of the Upper West Side, New York, NY

Hammertoes cause your toe joints to stay bent in a curved, hammerhead-like position. At NYC Foot & Ankle Center in the Manhattan Valley neighborhood of the Upper West Side, expert podiatrists Diana Valencia, DPM, Emmanuel Bustos, DPM, and the team provide various treatments for hammertoes, including custom orthotics, corticosteroid shots, and minimally invasive surgery. These therapies relieve pain, restore your mobility, and allow your affected toe to lie flat. Call the New York City office today to schedule a hammertoe treatment, or click the online booking feature. 

Hammertoes Q & A

Are hammertoes the same as bunions?

No. Hammertoes and bunions are both foot abnormalities, but they aren’t the same:


A bunion is a swollen bump that forms on the outer edge of your big toe. It occurs when the bones in the front of your foot change position due to a gait abnormality or general wear-and-tear.


A hammertoe occurs when the muscles and tendons in your foot weaken, causing one or more of your toes to pull upward. This causes an abnormal bend in the toe, leading to pain and increasing the risk of calluses and blisters.

What are the symptoms of hammertoes?

Hammertoe symptoms include:

  • A stiff toe joint
  • Pain at the top of the bent toe
  • Pain in the ball of the foot
  • Redness and inflammation
  • Swelling at your joint
  • Open sores

Without treatment, the affected joint may lock in position, affecting your mobility and quality of life.

How are hammertoes diagnosed?

Your NYC Foot & Ankle Center provider asks about your symptoms and examines the affected toe. Hammertoes are easy to identify because they prevent your toe from lying flat. 

Your provider gently presses on your toe to pinpoint sensitive areas and carefully assesses your joint’s range of motion. They also order X-rays to get a closer look at your affected toe joint and to evaluate the severity of the damage. 

If you have diabetes, they might also order additional tests to see if a neurologic problem is causing a tendon imbalance.

How are hammertoes treated?

The NYC Foot & Ankle Center team treats hammertoes using a conservative, minimally invasive approach. They might suggest:

  • Taping your toes to address the muscle imbalance
  • Using padding around the toe to reduce pressure
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medication
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Custom orthotics

The team might recommend surgery if your hammertoe pain is severe and interferes with your routine. During minimally invasive hammertoe surgery, your provider realigns your toe joint and inserts a small, steel rod to correct your toe’s position.

Can hammertoes be prevented?

You can’t prevent hammertoes altogether, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk. The NYC Foot & Ankle Center team recommends wearing shoes that provide plenty of room for your toes and exercising your toes regularly to strengthen the muscles that move them. 

Call NYC Foot & Ankle Center today to receive high-quality hammertoe care, or schedule your appointment with the online booking tool.