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Learn about your hammer toe, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your hammer toe from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

Hammer Toe Checker

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Your Hammer Toe May Also be Known as:
Bent toe
Deformed toe
Toe deformity

Top 10 Hammer Toe Causes

  1. 1.Hammer Toes (Contracted Toe)

    Hammer toe is a deformity of the second, third or fourth toe causing it to be permanently bent, resembling a hammer. It most frequently results from wearing poorly fitted shoes that force the toe into a bent position.

    You should visit your primary care physician if you are experiencing toe pain and/or concerned about the look of your toes. It can be corrected with physical therapy, new shoes or foot surgery in severe cases.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    toe pain, hammer toe
    Symptoms that always occur with hammer toes (contracted toe):
    hammer toe
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Raynaud Phenomenon

    Primary Raynaud phenomenon is a disorder of the blood vessels, usually in the fingers and toes, which causes the blood vessels to narrow when feeling cold or stressed. When this happens, blood can't get to the surface of the skin and the affected areas turn white and blue.

    You can safely treat this condition on your own with conservative measures, such as avoiding cold and use of protective measures and/or quitting smoking. If this is ineffective or you have other symptoms in addition to this, contact your primary care physician when convenient.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    distal numbness, cold toe, cold fingers, spontaneous toe pain, turning blue or purple from coldness
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  3. 3.Viral (Rotavirus) Infection

    Rotavirus is a virus that causes an infection of the gut, known as gastroenteritis. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and fever. When the diarrhea and/or vomiting is severe, dehydration can occur. Symptoms of dehydration include a dry mouth, dizziness, urinating less frequently and dark urine.

    You can safely treat this condition at home. Make sure you drink plenty of water and fluids to replace what is lost with diarrhea. Eat as normally as possible. If symptoms of dehydration occur, or you are unable to keep down any liquids, seek care at your primary care physician or an urgent care.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain (stomach ache), headache, loss of appetite
    Symptoms that always occur with viral (rotavirus) infection:
    hidden: gastroenteritis symptoms
    Symptoms that never occur with viral (rotavirus) infection:
    constipation, tarry stool
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  4. 4.Gout

    Gout is a form of arthritis that causes sudden pain, stiffness, and swelling in a joint. The big toe is often affected.

    You should see a healthcare professional to ensure uric acid crystals have not accumulated in the joint. A physician can give you a shot of corticosteroids or prescribe a daily medication to prevent gout attacks.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    swollen toes
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Foot Sprain

    The bones of the ankle and foot are held together by ligaments, which are bands of tough tissue. A sprain is a type of injury where one or more of the ligaments is stretched too far, causing tiny fibers in the ligaments to tear. In most cases, the ligament does not tear completely.

    You should go to a retail clinic to have the foot sprain evaluated. Most often, minor sprains can be treated by resting the foot, elevating it while sitting or laying down, and applying an ice pack or heat. Over-the-counter pain medication can help as well.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one foot, limping, foot injury, warm red foot swelling, swelling of one foot
    Symptoms that always occur with foot sprain:
    pain in one foot, foot injury
    Symptoms that never occur with foot sprain:
    recent cutting accident
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit

    Hammer Toe Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having hammer toe.

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  6. 6.Gonococcal Cervicitis

    Gonorrhea is a common STD and 350,000 cases occur each year in the United States. It is transmitted through unprotected sex.

    You should visit your primary care physician to get tested as soon as possible and discuss treatment options. Please make sure you have protected intercourse until you have been tested.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding, painful sex, yellow pus vaginal discharge, heavy menstrual flow
    Symptoms that never occur with gonococcal cervicitis:
    improving vaginal discharge
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Graves' Disease

    The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ inside the neck that is responsible for making thyroid hormones. These hormones control important body functions, such as heart rate and the rate at which the body turns food into energy. In Grave's disease, the immune system malfunctions and drives the thyroid to produce excessive amounts of hormones, leading to symptoms such as trouble sleeping, irritability and nervousness, heat sensitivity, hand tremors, and weight loss.

    You should visit your primary care physician to get your blood tested. Grave's disease is a complex condition that is managed with prescription antithyroid medications, as well as surgery in rare cases.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, trouble sleeping
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Influenza

    Influenza, or Flu, is an infection of the airway caused by the flu virus, which passes through the air and enters the body through the nose or mouth. The symptoms are similar to those of a cold, but the flu is usually more serious.

    If your flu-like symptoms are existing for less than 48 hours, it might be helpful to seek care by telephone or in a walk-in-clinic to get a course of oseltamivir (Tamiflu). Most people will get better on their own by drinking lots of fluids and taking an over-the-counter medication such as acetominophen (Tylenol) to help with aches or fever.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, cough, muscle aches
    Symptoms that never occur with influenza:
    headache resulting from a head injury
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  9. 9.Foot Weakness

    Any foot weakness is a sign of nerve damage, which is very worrisome and requires you to go see a doctor immediately!

    There may be several explanations for this symptom and its severity, but a healthcare professional should make an assessment as soon as possible because it may be serious.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    foot weakness, lower leg weakness, severe pelvis pain, arm weakness
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  10. 10.Condition Involving Severe Trouble Breathing

    Difficulty breathing is indicative of a serious ailment.

    There may be several explanations for this symptom and its severity, but a healthcare professional should make an assessment as soon as possible because it may be serious.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    shortness of breath at rest, hard testicle lump, blue skin that goes away when crying, severe pelvis pain
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Hammer Toe

  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Have you ever been diagnosed with diabetes?
  • Q.Is your foot pain getting better or worse?
  • Q.How severe is your foot pain?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our hammer toe symptom checker.

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Hammer Toe Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced hammer toe have also experienced:

    • 6% Swollen Toes
    • 6% Big Toe Pain
    • 4% Decreased Exercise Tolerance
  • People who have experienced hammer toe were most often matched with:

    • 32% Hammer Toes (Contracted Toe)
    • 7% Raynaud Phenomenon
    • 7% Viral (Rotavirus) Infection
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Hammer Toe Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having hammer toe.

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