Hammer toe is a deformity of the toe. The end of the toe is bent downward.
Hammer toe most often affects the second toe. However, it may also affect the other toes. The toe moves into a claw-like position.
The most common cause of hammer toe is wearing short, narrow shoes that are too tight. The toe is forced into a bent position. Muscles and tendons in the toe tighten and become shorter.
Hammer toe is more likely to occur in:
- Women who wear shoes that do not fit well or often wear shoes with high heels
- Children who wear shoes they have outgrown
The condition may be present at birth (congenital) or develop over time.
In rare cases, all of the toes are affected. This may be caused by a problem with the nerves or spinal cord.