Toe joint deformities

Hammer toe

Illustration of toe joint deformities: Hammer toe

A hammer toe occurs when a toe (usually the second toe) bends down at the middle toe joint (proximal interphalangeal joint, or PIP joint). The toe may bend up at the joint where the toe and foot meet (metatarsophalangeal joint, or MTP joint), causing the middle toe joint to be raised slightly. There may also be a deformity at the distal interphalangeal joint (DIP joint).

Claw toe

Illustration of toe joint deformities: Claw toe

Illustration copyright 2000, 2005 by Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. http://www.nucleusinc.com

Claw toe often affects all toes at the same time (except the big toe), causing them to bend downward at both the middle joints (PIP joints) and the joints nearest the tip (distal interphalangeal joint, or DIP joint), so that the toes curl down. The toes bend up at the joints where the toes and the foot meet (MTP joint).

Mallet toe

Illustration of toe joint deformities: Mallet toe

Illustration copyright 2000, 2005 by Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. http://www.nucleusinc.com

A mallet toe often affects the longest toe (generally the second toe), but it may affect the other toes as well. The toe bends down at the joint closest to the tip (DIP joint).

Last Updated: July 7, 2009

Author: Shannon Erstad, MBA/MPH

Medical Review: William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine & Barry L. Scurran, DPM - Podiatric Surgery

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