Surgical treatment of hammer and claw toes

Deformities of the smaller toes, which cause the toes to bend at one or both joints, are known as hammer or claw toes. A hammer toe curls downwards, causing the tip of the toe to point towards the ground. A lump forms on top of the bent joint, and this lump may become painful as it rubs against the shoe.

The condition forces the joints at the ball of the foot into the wrong position, which can lead to pain when you stand and walk, as well as thickening of the skin. If the condition is left untreated, the toe may stiffen. Hammer and claw toes are often seen in patients who also suffer from bunions and who have a widened forefoot.

Foot and ankle deformities such as flat or high arched feet and restricted ankle dorsiflexion increase the risk. Underuse of the muscles of the foot can make the toes contract and cause muscle imbalance. The toes contract to maintain the balance, as the muscles no longer function efficiently enough. Hammer toe is also associated with diabetes, neuromuscular diseases and arthritis and other connective tissue diseases that weaken the joint capsules.

There are different kinds of hammer toes. Our specialists plan the treatment according to the nature of the deformity and the symptoms. In most cases, hammer toe surgery involves releasing the joint capsule at the ball of the foot, reshaping the middle toe joint and extending the toe tendon. The toe is fixed with a pin, which is removed by a physician 4-6 weeks after the procedure.

After the procedure, the patient is required to wear a special shoe, which allows him or her to put weight on the foot. The shoe should be worn until the pin is removed.

Medical centres


Porkkalankatu 22 C, 1st floor
00180 Helsinki

Operating days are from Monday to Friday