A hammertoe is an abnormally crooked, contracted toe that usually affects the lesser (smaller) toes. This condition is caused by a muscle or tendon imbalance causing the toe to “buckle” and eventually become stuck in a bent position. Patients usually experience pain, redness and stiffness in the affected toe. Treatment for hammertoes depends on the severity of the condition but simple measures such as wearing roomier shoes, custom orthotics or padded inserts can provide relief. If necessary, surgery can be performed to straighten the toe.