Causes of Hammertoe
The main cause of hammertoe is poorly fitted and/or poorly designed footwear. Any footwear that is too tight in the toe box, especially high-heeled shoes, can push the toes forward, crowding one or more of them into a space that is not large enough to allow the toes to lie flat and spread as they should. Other causes of hammertoe include the following:
- Changes in foot anatomy. Sometimes the metatarsal bones in the ball of the foot can “drop,” creating a situation in which the toes do not make contact with the surface of the shoe. The toes may then contract at one or both of the joints to re-establish contact with the surface.
- Traumatic injuries in which toes are jammed or broken.
- Diabetic neuropathy. This can cause abnormal foot biomechanics due to nerve and/or muscle damage.
- Damage to nerves and muscles from other conditions, such as arthritis or stroke.