Skip to main content


Brian Wascavage, DPM -  - Foot & Ankle Surgeon

MetroWest Podiatry

Brian Wascavage, DPM

Foot & Ankle Surgeon & Podiatrist located in Framingham, MA & Marlboro, MA

If you have stiff and uncomfortable hammertoes, experienced MetroWest Podiatry specialist Brian Wascavage, DPM, can straighten your toes and restore your effortless movement. Dr. Wascavage sees people in two offices in Framingham or Marlborough, Massachusetts. Click on the online appointment maker or call the office nearest to you to arrange your hammertoe evaluation.

Hammertoes Q&A

What are hammertoes?

Hammertoe is an uncomfortable foot abnormality in which the joint in the middle of a toe bends sharply downwards. That creates an upside-down "V" shape, similar to that of a hammer. 

Hammertoe can be flexible or rigid. With flexible hammertoe, the affected joint still moves, although stiffly and with significant difficulty. With rigid hammertoe, the joint is so stiff that you can't move it at all. Flexible hammertoe usually becomes rigid without treatment.

What symptoms do hammertoes cause?

Hammertoes can cause troublesome issues including:

  • Pain in the affected joint
  • Joint stiffness
  • Corns or calluses over the affected joint due to friction
  • Calluses or blisters on the ball of your foot due to foot imbalance

Hammertoe can change your foot balance so much that it's hard to walk, in some cases. You may also have trouble finding shoes that fit without aggravating your hammertoe.

What causes hammertoe?

The most common cause of hammertoe is wearing shoes that don't have enough room for your toes. When shoes are overly tight, it pushes your toe up in the middle. 

Consistently wearing too-tight shoes can eventually cause muscle and tendon tightening and shortening, which then leads to hammertoe.

You may be prone to hammertoe if you have long toes. If you have a bunion, you're also more likely to have a hammertoe. 

What is the treatment for hammertoes?

With hammertoe treatment, the sooner you get treatment, the better. In most cases, you can treat hammertoe with conservative measures. 

For flexible hammertoe, treatment commonly includes toe splints, custom orthotics, padding, taping, and other nonsurgical treatments. 

Surgery is the only way to correct a rigid hammertoe. Dr. Wascavage can perform minimally invasive surgery to remove excess bone, restore optimal tendon and muscle balance, and restore your joint. 

After your hammertoe treatment, whether it's conservative or surgical, Dr. Wascavage may recommend special toe exercises to help you maintain toe balance and strength. Also, it's important to avoid wearing the same type of shoes that caused your hammertoe in the future. 

If you have hammertoe symptoms, acting fast is the best way to straighten your toe and walk normally again. Reach out to MetroWest Podiatry by phone or through the online appointment maker.