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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).
Illustration copyright 2000, 2005 by Nucleus
Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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).
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).
June 29, 2011
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Gavin W.G. Chalmers, DPM - Podiatry and Podiatric Surgery
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