Hammer, claw and mallet toes

Also known as: Claw, hammer and mallet toes, Mallet, hammer and claw toes
Hammer, claw and mallet toes are deformities. The muscles that control toe movement go out of balance, causing the toe to bend into an odd position at one or more joints.
  • A hammer toe occurs when the longest toe (usually the second toe, next to the big toe) bends down toward the floor at the middle toe joint. The toe may bend up at the joint where the toe and foot meet, causing the middle toe joint to be raised slightly.
  • Claw toe often affects all toes (except the big toe) at the same time, causing them to bend downward at the middle joints and at the joints nearest the tip, so that the toes curl down toward the floor. The toes bend up at the joints where the toes and the foot meet.
  • A mallet toe often affects the second toe, but it may affect the other toes as well. The toe bends down at the joint closest to the tip.
These conditions can be painful or uncomfortable, especially while a person walks, as the toe presses and rubs against the shoe. These conditions almost always affect the lesser toes (those other than the big toe), and each condition involves a different toe joint or combination of toe joints.
Providence Orthopedic Institute offers professional treatment for adults and children in the areas of joint reconstruction, revisions, foot and ankle injuries, hand and upper extremity surgery, fracture care, trauma and sports injuries. We use a variety of assessment and treatment tools to establish an accurate diagnosis quickly and to develop a plan of care tailored to the needs of each patient.