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Fixed or Flexible Toe Joint Deformities

Toe joint deformities, such as hammer, claw, and mallet toes, may be fixed or flexible. In a fixed deformity, the toe joint cannot move normally. In a flexible deformity, some movement is possible. You may be able to move your toe with your hand but not be able to move it by itself, as you normally would. A flexible deformity may become fixed over time if you do not treat it.

Whether your deformity is fixed or flexible can also affect treatment options.

  • A fixed deformity often requires surgery to be straightened.
  • A flexible deformity can sometimes be straightened without using surgery. Stretching the joint or taping down the toe may work.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerGavin W.G. Chalmers, DPM - Podiatry and Podiatric Surgery
Last RevisedJune 29, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 29, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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