Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.
What Are Mallet, Hammer, and Claw Toes?
Mallet, hammer, and claw toes are most often caused by wearing shoes that are too short or heels that are too high. This jams the toes against the front of the shoe and causes one or more joints to bend. Rarely, disease can cause the joints in the toes to bend. Mallet, hammer, and claw toes are among the most common toe problems. They occur most often in the longest of the four smaller toes.
Inside Your Toes
There are three bones in each of your four smaller toes. Where two bones connect is called a joint. Normally the toes lie flat. But pressure on the toes or the front of the foot can cause one or more joints to bend. This curls the toe. Toes that stay curled are called mallet toes, hammer toes, or claw toes, depending on which joints are bent.