A hammertoe is a contracted, bent, or crooked toe. The condition usually stems from a muscle imbalance in the foot. The abnormal position of the toe can put pressure on it when wearing shoes, causing problems to worsen. Hammertoes get progressively worse over time, starting as a flexible deformity. If left untreated hammertoes will become more rigid. Conservative treatment for hammertoes depends on the severity of the condition including different shoes, orthotics, over-the-counter pads, and medication. Surgery may be indicated when toes become extremely stiff and painful. Hammertoes never get better without some kind of intervention.