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A hammer toe is a toe that stays bent at the middle joint. A flexible hammer toe can be straightened by hand. A rigid hammer toe cannot.
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It is caused by an imbalance in the ligaments and muscle stabilizers of the toe.
This problem is more common in older adults. Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
Problems may be:
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. An exam of the toe will be done. This is enough to make the diagnosis.
Images may be taken if the diagnosis is not certain. This can be done with an x-ray.
The goal of treatment is to ease pressure on the toe. Choices are:
Some people with severe hammer toe may need surgery. Choices are:
Hammer toe may be prevented by:
American Podiatric Medical Association
OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
DiPreta JA. Metatarsalgia, lesser toe deformities, and associated disorders of the forefoot. Med Clin North Am. 2014 Mar;98(2):233-251.
Hammer toe. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hammer-toe. Updated March 30, 2015. Accessed May 7, 2020.
Hammertoe. Foot Health Facts—American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.foothealthfacts.org/footankleinfo/hammertoes.htm. Accessed May 7, 2020.
Hammer toe. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00160. Updated September 2012. Accessed May 7, 2020.
Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM Last Updated: 4/9/21