Hammertoe deformity is a structural deformity in which abnormal biomechanics cause the toe(s) to contract at one, two or all three of the joints within that toe. When in its early stages, the deformity is flexible. Normally hammertoes by themselves are not painful, but with foot wear, the prominent knuckle of the toe rubs the shoe, producing an area of irritation which eventually forms a corn.

Temporary relief of painful symptoms can be achieved by having the lesion/corn, often present with this deformity, debrided (trimmed). When the contracture becomes rigid and nonflexible and increased swelling and pain persist, then surgical correction might become necessary to alleviate symptoms.