Hammer Toe Specialist

Scheffel Foot Center

John A. Scheffel, DPM

Podiatry located in Worcester, MA & Clinton, MA

If your toes are, quite literally, bent out of shape, you are likely dealing with hammertoe. While not necessarily dangerous, hammertoes can cause complications that can make your life very uncomfortable. At Scheffel Foot Center, Dr. John Scheffel has a number of tools that can help relieve the discomfort of hammertoe and straighten matters out. If you’re in Worcester, Massachusetts, and you’re dealing with hammertoes, call or use the online scheduler to find relief.

Hammer Toe Q & A

What are hammertoes?

As the name implies, a hammertoe is a toe that’s bent at the middle joint, causing your toe to contract upward. The condition usually strikes your second toe, but you can also develop hammertoes in your third and fourth toes. While not necessarily dangerous, hammertoes can create problems, such as painful calluses and corns on top of your toes, which can make wearing shoes painful.

The condition is usually progressive and doesn’t go away on its own, which makes early intervention a good idea. If you have diabetes, it’s especially important that you see Dr. Scheffel for treatment.

What causes hammertoes?

The primary driver behind a hammertoe is an imbalance in the tendons, ligaments, and muscles that are responsible for holding your toe straight. The problem usually stems from a mechanical or neurological problem that offsets the delicate balance between the soft tissue groups by allowing the tissue to pull up on the toe at your middle joint.

There are several conditions that can contribute to the development of hammertoes, such as:

  • Trauma
  • Shoes that crowd your toes
  • A long second toe
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Genetics


Women are more likely than men to develop hammertoes, which may be attributable to high heels with pointy toes.

How are hammertoes treated?

Thanks to the distinctive nature of hammertoes, Dr. Scheffel is able to easily diagnose the condition just by looking at your feet.

After examining the extent of your hammertoe, Dr. Scheffel comes up with a treatment plan. If your toe is still flexible, this may include:

  • Exercises to stretch out the muscles in your toe
  • A change in footwear
  • Orthotics


If you’ve developed painful corns or calluses as a result of your hammertoe, Dr. Scheffel also addresses these issues.

If your toe is no longer flexible and your hammertoe is causing problems, Dr. Scheffel may recommend a minor surgery to release the tendon that’s holding your toe in the bent position. As part of this surgery, Dr. Scheffel may remove a small piece of your bone to shorten your toe, which will prevent a hammertoe from redeveloping.

To correct your hammertoe, call Scheffel Foot Center or request an appointment by filling the online form.

Conditions & Treatments