hammer toe

Last reviewed 01/2018

With hammer toes, there is extension of the metatarsophalangeal joints and the distal interphalangeal joints. The proximal interphalangeal joints are hyperflexed.

The condition most often affects the second toe of one or both feet. The metatarsophalangeal joint may become painfully dorsally dislocated.

The patient may present with deformity and pain. The pain may be a result of the development of painful callosities on the dorsum of the toe and under the prominent metatarsal head, or may result from pressure on the nail.

If this condition is painful then operative treatment is indicated. Surgical options include arthroplasty at the distal interphalangeal joint, or the proximal interphalangeal joint where a pseudoarthrosis has developed, or fusion at these joints (holding the toe in a straightened position) (1)


  1. Rheumatic Disease in Practice (September 2001). The therapeutic scope of modern podiatry. Issue number 6, Arthritis Research Campaign.