Hammer toe

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Hammer toe
A Mallet Toe is evident on the 3rd digit
ICD-10 M20.4, Q66.8
ICD-9 735.4, 755.66
MeSH D037801

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor-In-Chief: Sara Mohsin, M.D.[2], Cafer Zorkun, M.D., Ph.D. [3]

Synonyms and keywords: Claw toe; hammertoe syndrome; mallet toe


A hammer toe is a deformity of the second, third, or fourth toe causing it to be permanently bent at the proximal interphalangeal joint, resembling a hammer. Mallet toe is another name for this condition when affecting the distal interphalangeal joint.


Risk factors

Common risk factors include:


Few complications of hammer toe include:


Common causes of muscle, nerve, or joint damage resulting in a hammer toe include:[1][2]

History and symptoms


Conservative treatment



Primary preventive measures for hammer toe include:


  1. Ridley LJ, Han J, Ridley WE, Xiang H (2018). "Claw toe". J Med Imaging Radiat Oncol. 62 Suppl 1: 126. doi:10.1111/1754-9485.07_12786. PMID 30309185.
  2. Ceccarini P, Rinonapoli G, Sebastiani E, Bisaccia M, Ceccarini A, Caraffa A (2019). "Clinical Comparison Between Shortening Osteotomy of the Proximal Phalanx Neck and Arthrodesis in Hammer Toe Surgery at Mid-TermFollow-Up". J Foot Ankle Surg. 58 (2): 221–225. doi:10.1053/j.jfas.2018.08.002. PMID 30553747.
  3. Doty JF, Fogleman JA (2018). "Treatment of Rigid Hammer-Toe Deformity: Permanent Versus Removable Implant Selection". Foot Ankle Clin. 23 (1): 91–101. doi:10.1016/j.fcl.2017.09.007. PMID 29362037.
  4. Mueller CM, Boden SA, Boden AL, Maidman SD, Cutler A, Mignemi D; et al. (2018). "Complication Rates and Short-Term Outcomes After Operative Hammertoe Correction in Older Patients". Foot Ankle Int. 39 (6): 681–688. doi:10.1177/1071100718755472. PMID 29444584.
  5. Ceccarini P, Ceccarini A, Rinonapoli G, Caraffa A (2015). "Correction of Hammer Toe Deformity of Lateral Toes With Subtraction Osteotomy of the Proximal Phalanx Neck". J Foot Ankle Surg. 54 (4): 601–6. doi:10.1053/j.jfas.2014.11.013. PMID 25746765.
  6. Basile A, Albo F, Via AG (2015). "Intramedullary Fixation System for the Treatment of Hammertoe Deformity". J Foot Ankle Surg. 54 (5): 910–6. doi:10.1053/j.jfas.2015.04.004. PMID 26028601.
  7. Catena F, Doty JF, Jastifer J, Coughlin MJ, Stevens F (2014). "Prospective study of hammertoe correction with an intramedullary implant". Foot Ankle Int. 35 (4): 319–25. doi:10.1177/1071100713519780. PMID 24443491.
  8. Obrador C, Losa-Iglesias M, Becerro-de-Bengoa-Vallejo R, Kabbash CA (2018). "Comparative Study of Intramedullary Hammertoe Fixation". Foot Ankle Int. 39 (4): 415–425. doi:10.1177/1071100717745854. PMID 29337598.
  9. Kramer WC, Parman M, Marks RM (2015). "Hammertoe correction with k-wire fixation". Foot Ankle Int. 36 (5): 494–502. doi:10.1177/1071100714568013. PMID 25677363.

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