Hammer Toe

What Is a Hammer Toe

Hammer toe is a deformity of the end of the toe manifested by flexion or curvature of the first joint, often the second metatarsal. Sometimes known as a claw toe, contracture usually develops in older people and women are predominantly affected.

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What are the Causes?

Hammer toe is caused by contracture of the tendons above and below the toe. Wearing the wrong shoes, trauma, muscle imbalance, a biomechanical or neurological disorder or certain inflammatory diseases can be the cause of the abnormality.

Diagnosis of a hammer toe

How to Recognize Hammer Toe?

Symptoms vary depending on the degree of deviation and stiffness. The deformity often causes irritation to the toe when rubbing against the shoe. The appearance of swelling, redness, corns or calluses is also common. In some cases, the problem can compromise the patient's mobility.

How is it Diagnosed?

The hammer toe is characterized by contracture or flexion of one or more toes. The diagnosis is therefore made mainly through a physical evaluation.

Hammer Toes-
Frequently Asked Questions


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When Should We Operate?

Adaptable footwear and the prescription of custom-made foot orthotics are the main non-surgical measures.

When the pain persists and the operation is necessary, arthroplasty and arthrodesis are the two preferred techniques.

Treating Hammer Toe

What Is Surgery
For a Hammer Toe Like?

Surgery is the only solution to correct the problem permanently.

The first method is to relax the toe by shortening the head of the proximal phalange.

The second involves fusion of the contracted joint with temporary pins or implants.

Key Takeaways

How to Recognize a Hammer Toe

The term 'hammer toe' refers to a deformation of the end of the toe. This condition primarily affects adult females and is characterized by contracture or flexion of one or more toes.

What Are the Symptoms

Their curled shape very often creates areas of friction with the shoe or the ground, resulting in the formation of corns, calluses and blisters. It is not uncommon for repeated irritation to cause pain, redness or infection of skin wounds. In some cases, the problem may interfere with the subject's walking and mobility.

What Causes Hammer Toe?

Foot morphology, muscle imbalance, biomechanical disorders and wearing narrow shoes are the most common causes of hammer toe. The deformity can also be the consequence of certain inflammatory diseases or other pathologies of the foot, in particular hallux valgus (bunion).

What are the treatments?

Removing corns, wearing more comfortable shoes, and using foot orthotics provide temporary relief. When surgery becomes inevitable, two types of intervention are preferred. Arthroplasty involves straightening the toe by shortening the head of the proximal phalanx. Arthrodesis involves stiffening with fixation implants or temporary pins.

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Our clinic is the first and only podiatric medicine establishment in the province to earn the Accreditation Canada seal, a mark of excellence in the field of healthcare organizations. This certification attests to our compliance with the most demanding standards in terms of healthcare services.

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Ordre des podiatres

Dr. Hobeychi, podiatrist, as well as all of the Clinic's collaborating podiatrists are members of the Ordre des podiatres du Québec. Our nursing assistants are members of the Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers auxiliaires du Québec.