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Hammer, Claw & Crossover Toe

If your toes hurt or stay unusually bent, you may have hammertoe, claw toe, or crossover toe. Find a diagnosis and expert treatment from podiatrists with EvergreenHealth Foot and Ankle Care.

Types of Toe Problems

Toes that don't lie straight may be:

  • Claw toe – Toes that curl toward the floor or claw into the soles of your shoes and cause painful calluses
  • Crossover toe – Second toe that drifts toward the big toe and eventually crosses over it
  • Hammertoe – Bent joints in the second, third, fourth or fifth (little) toes

Signs & Symptoms

You may experience:

  • Pain in the toe or ball of the foot, especially when wearing shoes
  • Sensation that there's a marble in your shoe or your sock is bunched up
  • Swelling and redness
  • Corns and calluses (thickened patches of skin) between the toes or on the ball of the foot


Your EvergreenHealth doctor will examine your foot and may move it to see how the toes bend. You may get an order for an X-ray exam to show the bones. In some cases, you may also need testing for neurological conditions that could weaken your foot or toe muscles.


Depending on your specific toe problem, your doctor may order certain nonsurgical treatments in the early stages of the condition:

  • Exercising your toes by using them to pick up a crumpled towel or small items off the floor
  • Stretching your toes and calf muscles
  • Taping/splinting to keep the toe in the right position
  • Using pads on corns and calluses to shield them from rubbing and irritation
  • Wearing custom shoe inserts that shift weight away from the affected toes
  • Wearing flat, supportive shoes with plenty of space for your toes, as well as stiff soles that control motion and reduce pressure on the ball of your foot

Toe Correction Surgery

If your toe problem is severe, or conservative treatments don't help, you may need surgery. Your doctor will recommend the best procedure based on your toe condition, number of toes affected, age, activity level, and other factors. Learn about hammertoe surgery at EvergreenHealth.

Make An Appointment

Call (425) 899-4650 in Kirkland or (360) 794-3300 in Monroe to make an appointment with one of our Foot & Ankle Care specialists.

One-Stop Shop

Get all of your orthopedic care in one place—EvergreenHealth's Neuroscience, Spine & Orthopedic Institute in Kirkland. Our comprehensive team of experts collaborate in orthopedics, sports medicine, physiatry, neurology, physical therapy, pain management and more.