Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
195 Little Albany Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08903-2681
The middle joint found in eight of your toes is called the proximal interphalangeal or “PIP” joint.
Hammertoe and claw toe are conditions where one or more of your toes stays in an abnormally bent position.
If you have a hammertoe,* the PIP joint is bent so that your toe looks like a hammer.
If you have a claw toe, the joint where your foot and toe meet is bent upward, while the PIP joint is bent downward.
This makes your toe look like a claw.
If non-surgical treatments don’t work, your healthcare provider may advise you to have a surgical procedure, such as PIP arthroplasty and fusion, to straighten your toe.
To start the procedure, your surgeon will make an incision on the top of your toe.
Ligaments and tendons over the toe bones may be cut to expose the joint.
Next, the ends of the two bones will be removed.
This allows more room for the toe to relax and straighten.
Sometimes, a pin or other fixation device will be inserted through the bones to keep your toe straight while it heals.
At the end of the procedure, the incision will be closed with sutures.
Your surgeon may also place your toe in a cast or splint while it heals.
As the joint heals, scar tissue will form, fusing the two bones together.
If a pin is used, it will be removed in your doctor’s office after a few weeks.
To find out more about more about hammertoe or claw toe procedures, talk to your healthcare provider.