Hammer, Claw and Mallet Toe

What are they?

Hammer, claw, and mallet toes are deformities. The muscles that control toe movement go out of balance, causing the toe to bend into an odd position at one or more joints. Hammer toes can be flexible or rigid.

Hammer toe occurs when the longest toe (usually the second toe, next to the big toe) bends down toward the floor at the middle toe joint.

Claw toe often affects all toes (except the big toe) at the same time, causing them to bend downward from the middle joints and at the joints nearest the tip, so that the toes curl down toward the floor.

 Mallet toe The toe bends down at the joint closest to the tip. It often affects the second toe, but it may affect the other toes as well.



  • Neurological disorders
  • Inherited
  • Partial or complete dislocation in one of the joints that form the toe.
  • Tight, poorly fitting shoes
  • Muscle imbalance
  • Poor biomechanics
  • Arthritis
  • Injury


How can we help?

  • Educate patients regarding appropriate fit and function of footwear for this condition
  • Modify footwear if required to accommodate the deformity
  • Fabricate custom orthotics to help control the muscle/tendon imbalance.
  • Podiatry foot care – remove corns, calluses, wound care, etc.