What’s the difference between claw toe and hammertoe? The difference between claw toe and hammertoe has to do with the joints that are affected by each condition. Claw toe develops when the two end joints in your little digits bend and curl under, while the joint at the ball of the foot bends upward slightly, creating the claw-like look. It can affect any or all of the smaller toes, and often impacts all four at once. Hammertoe occurs when the middle joint of any of the small digits becomes fixed in a bent position. The second toe is the most commonly affected, and usually only one or two digits have the problem at once. Because these are different problems, they have slightly different causes and treatments. However, they share the same risk. Both need to be treated before they progress too far; otherwise, the conditions may become permanent issues. If you’re concerned about your toes, let Dr. Darren Silvester know here at Next Step Foot & Ankle clinic so you can receive the appropriate care. Call (210) 375-3318 or use the online request form to reach us for an appointment. Do I need to have hammertoe surgery? Whether or not you need hammertoe surgery largely depends on your unique condition. Hammertoes that are stuck in a bent position, painful, prone to corns or skin sores, or are not responding to conservative treatments will probably need surgical correction to eliminate your discomfort. If your toe is still flexible, padding or strapping the toe helps the pain, or shoe changes reduce your symptoms, most likely you will not need an invasive procedure. Dr. Darren Silvester here at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic will work with you to find a treatment plan that best fits your needs and your activity levels. Hopefully conservative treatments will relieve your discomfort. If surgery is needed, our expert staff will work closely with you to make the procedure as successful as possible. Seek treatment early to avoid hammertoe surgery. Contact our office in Pleasanton, TX, for an appointment or more information about conservative care. Visit our website contact page or call (210) 375-3318 to reach us.