What is a Hammer Toe?
A hammer toe, also known as claw toe, is a type of deformity of the foot that causes a toe to bend or curl pointing downward instead of pointing forward by affecting the center joint of the toe. Although this condition affects the second or third toe most often, it can affect any toe on the foot. This deformity is called mallet toe when it affects the joint closest to the toenail, or cross-over toe when the toe crosses over an adjacent toe.
What Causes a Hammer Toe?
The most common causes of Hammer Toe are attributed to hereditary/genetic causes or footwear such as high-heels or tight shoes that crowd the toes. A hammer toe normally develops over time, in some cases due to arthritis, injury, nerve damage or bunion of the big toe. Regardless of the cause, a hammertoe is treatable.
Based on the severity and/or length of the toe, the surgeon has different options to surgically correct a hammer toe. Basically, a hammer toe repair surgery consists in removing a portion of the bone at the contracted joint in order to realign the toe. Your foot and ankle surgeon will advise the patient and discuss the specific type of hammertoe surgery that best suits the patient. The most common types of hammer toe repair surgery include:
- Fusing the joints to straighten the toe
- Removing parts of the bones in the toe
- Cutting or transplanting the tendons the toe