Definition of Hammer toe
Hammer toe is a deformity of the toe, in which the end of the toe is bent downward.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Hammer toe usually affects the second toe. However, it may also affect the other toes. The toe moves into a claw-like position.
The middle joint of the toe is bent. The end part of the toe bends down into a claw-like deformity. At first, you may be able to move and straighten the toe. Over time, you will no longer be able to move the toe.
Signs and tests
A physical examination of the foot confirms that you have hammer toe. The health care provider may find decreased and painful movement in the toes.
Mild hammer toe in children can be treated by manipulating and splinting the affected toe.
If the condition is treated early, you can often avoid surgery. Treatment will reduce pain and walking difficulty.
C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 10/31/2010