A hammer toe is a toe that tends to remain bent at the middle joint in a claw-like position. There are two types of hammer toe:

  • Flexible hammer toe—can be straightened by hand
  • Rigid hammer toe—cannot be pulled straight and can be extremely painful. The position of the toe can also lead to corns or calluses. These may also be painful.

The sooner a hammer toe is treated, the better the outcome. If you suspect you have this condition, contact your doctor.

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Hammer toe may be present at birth or develop later in life due to:

  • Tendons that have tightened, causing the toe's joints to curl downward

Occasionally, all toes may be bent. This may be due to problems with the peripheral nerves or the spinal cord.