December 1st, 2011 , Foot Ankle Clin

Hammertoes and clawtoes: proximal interphalangeal joint correction

Hammertoe and clawtoe deformities are common forefoot problems. The deformity exists owing to the underlying pathoanatomy. Hallux valgus, longer metatarsals, and intrinsic imbalance are the most common etiologies. Understanding the cause of the deformity is important to be able to successfully treat the condition, whether nonoperative or with operative intervention. When nonoperative measures fail, PIP correction is best obtained through arthroplasty or arthrodesis. The key to successful PIP correction is obtaining a well-aligned toe and reducing pain as demonstrated by Coughlin and Mann.15 When choosing a technique, the author prefers PIP joint arthrodesis because it has several advantages, including a decreased risk of recurrence and a more predictable toe posture. The authors prefers an intramedullary device to avoid the well-known complications of K-wires. The best surgical correction and fixation techniques are still to be determined. Each patient much be evaluated thoroughly and treatment should be tailored to the patient’s deformity, comorbidities, expectations and surgeon’s experience.