This Might Make Your Toes Curl


When people say something made their toes curl, they’re usually talking about witnessing something cringe-worthy, but when podiatrists talk about toes curling, we mean it literally. The real toe-curling events we see weekly here at Maple Springs Foot Center are called hammertoes, and we take them seriously!

Who gets hammertoes and what causes them?

Any person is susceptible to getting hammertoe if they have the following:

  • A structural or mechanical issue with their feet, like a high arch, an imbalance of toe muscles, or too-tight tendons

  • Arthritis

  • A genetic history of hammertoe

  • A tendency to wear tight, narrow shoes that constrict their toes

What are the types of hammertoes?

Hammertoe affects any toe except your big toe. It’s most often found in the second, third, or fourth toe that won’t lie flat. There are two main types of hammertoe:

  • Flexible hammertoes: These appear bent, but you can still manipulate and move it. They are usually not painful.

  • Rigid hammertoes: These are stiff and often painful. They can make walking difficult.

Hammertoe is progressive, which means that a flexible hammertoe can morph into a rigid one. That’s why it’s best to get your feet assessed here at Maple Springs Foot Center if you suspect hammertoe.

How is hammertoe treated?

Our Board-Certified Podiatrist, Dr. Stuart Snyder, will examine your toes thoroughly and assess how the hammertoe is progressing and affecting your movement. He may take x-rays to help determine the extent of the issue.

There are a number of conservative treatments for flexible hammertoe that can be very effective. These include:

  • Splinting the toe

  • Switching to wider shoes that properly fit your feet

  • Exercising your toes

  • Physical therapy utilizing your fingers to stretch your toes out

  • Over the counter treatments for corns or calluses often associated with hammertoe

Severe cases or rigid hammertoes can lead to a referral for outpatient surgery to remedy.

If your toes are curling, give our office a call today. Dr. Stuart Snyder here at Maple Springs Foot Center can help assess and treat any foot or ankle issues you might be experiencing. To get in touch, request an appointment online or call our office conveniently located in Gaithersburg, MD at 301-762-3338.