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Hammer/Claw Toes

What are hammer and claw toes?

The lesser toes (2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th toes) can sometimes become deformed over time to resemble hammer or claw shapes. These smaller toes are essential for weight distribution while walking, so if they become deformed, they can cause discomfort in the toes and the rest of the foot due to uneven pressure. Continuous pressure and rubbing from footwear can cause further pain and discomfort.

What are hammer and claw toes?

This can occur due to a variety of factors, including increasing age or joint diseases like arthritis.

How are hammer and claw toes diagnosed?

Usually these kinds of deformities only require a clinical examination for diagnosis. In cases where extra joint disease is suspected, further imaging with an x-ray may be required.

Treatment and recovery

Strapping the toes together and wearing appropriate footwear with extra padding around the affected area is often sufficient to relieve symptoms without the need for surgery. Wearing shoes that are wider and more comfortable can also be helpful.

When surgery is needed, the affected toes can be straightened, shortened or fused as required. This can be performed as keyhole surgery to reduce hospital stay and the risk of infection. This kind of surgery usually requires around 4 weeks for recovery.

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