Overlapping Toes (Hammer Toes)

Overlapping Toes (Hammer Toes)

Overlapping toes, commonly referred to as hammer toes, occur when the toes bend downward and overlap with adjacent toes. While any toe can be affected, the second, third, or fourth toes are most commonly involved. Genetics, foot injuries, and specific medical conditions contribute to this condition.


  • Genetics: Inherited predisposition from family members.
  • Foot Injuries: Traumas like sprains or fractures.
  • Medical Conditions: Arthritis, diabetes, and nerve abnormalities can contribute.


  • Pain: Discomfort in the affected toes.
  • Stiffness: Reduced flexibility in toe movement.
  • Difficulty Walking: Impaired gait due to toe misalignment.
  • Shoe Discomfort: Trouble wearing shoes due to toe overlap.
  • Calluses or Corns: Friction between overlapping toes may lead to thickened skin.


Treatment depends on severity and underlying causes:

  • Non-Surgical: Wearing spacious shoes with deep toe boxes, orthotics or padding for cushioning, and physical therapy to stretch and strengthen foot muscles and tendons.
  • Surgical: In severe cases, surgery may involve removing a portion of bone or using pins or screws to realign toes. Recovery time varies but typically takes weeks to months.


  • Proper Footwear: Wear shoes that fit well and provide adequate support.
  • Maintain Healthy Weight: Reduces pressure on feet.
  • Foot Exercises: Regular stretching and strengthening exercises.
  • Early Intervention: Seek medical attention at the first signs of overlapping toes, especially for individuals with medical conditions like diabetes.

Overlapping toes can lead to discomfort and complications if left untreated, but with appropriate care and intervention, symptoms can be managed effectively.

Back to blog

Featured collection