Hammertoes is a condition in which the middle toe joint is contracted and has a permanent sideways bend. Tight fitting shoes can aggravate the deformity creating pain over the prominent bony areas on the top and end of the toe.
Treatment usually involves wearing a shoe that accommodates the bend in the toe. Shoe inserts or pads also may help. If pain and discomfort persist, surgery to straighten the toe or remove the prominent area of bone may be an option.
Illustration reproduced with permission from Fischer S, (interim ed): Your Orthopaedic Connection. Rosemont, IL, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Available at http://orthoinfo.aaos.org.org/.