The common name "hammer toes" group together strains and contractures in the toes. These are usually caused by muscle imbalance and may be aggravated by wearing improper shoes.
The presence of hammer toes is often associated with the collapse of the metatarsals, which can also create important points of pressure at the forefoot and lead to metatarsalgia. In severe cases, subluxation of the second toe can occur from chronic stretching of the ligaments that hold the second toe to the metatarsus.
In all cases, it is important to wear proper shoes to avoid pressure points and consult your podiatrist for evaluation, diagnosis and prescription of orthotics or other treatment.