Hammer, claw, and mallet toes are toes that bend into an
odd position at one or more joints. This can be painful. They are most often caused by wearing tight shoes, which can cause the toe
muscles to get out of balance.
A hammer toe bends down toward
the floor at the middle toe joint. This
causes the middle toe joint to rise up. It usually happens in the second toe.
Claw toe often affects the
four smaller toes at the same time. The toes bend up at the joint where the
toes and the foot meet. They bend down at the middle joints and at the
joints nearest the tip of the toes. This causes the toes to curl down toward
A mallet toe bends down at the joint closest
to the tip of the toe.
You may be able to fix
your toe with home treatment. If you don't treat the problem right away, you are
more likely to need surgery.
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Gavin W.G. Chalmers, DPM - Podiatry and Podiatric Surgery
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.