Hammertoes form when one or both joints of the small toes bend from weakness in your foot muscle. Diabetic nerve damage may cause the weakness. - NIH
I've heard from fellow runners that wearing shoes too tight contributes to developing hammertoe over time.
You may get sores on the bottoms of your feet and on the tops of your toes that can become infected. The shape of your feet may change. You can have problems walking and finding shoes that fit well.
This link mentions that you may need surgery to correct a hammer toe, but that an orthotic could work too. Shouldn't there be toe-exercises or something instead, if it's a muscle issue?