A hammer toe is a toe that tends to remain bent at the middle joint in a claw-like position. There are two types of hammer toe:
The sooner a hammer toe is treated, the better the outcome. If you suspect you have this condition, contact your doctor.
Hammer toe may be present at birth or develop later in life due to:
Occasionally, all toes may be bent. This may be due to problems with the peripheral nerves or the spinal cord.
Factors that increase your chance of getting hammer toe include:
If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to hammer toe. Talk to your doctor about symptoms such as:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam of the toe will be done. Your doctor can diagnose hammer toe by its appearance.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
Severe cases require an operation to straighten the joint.
If you are diagnosed with hammer toe, follow your doctor's instructions.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Podiatric Medical Association
Nurses Entrepreneurial Foot Care Association of Canada
Hammer toe. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00160. Updated September 2012. Accessed March 25, 2013.
Hammertoes. American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons Foot Health Facts website. Available at: http://www.foothealthfacts.org/footankleinfo/hammertoes.htm. Updated December 18, 2009. Accessed March 25, 2013.
Hammer toe. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated May 25, 2010. Accessed March 25, 2013.
Last reviewed February 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.