The clawtoe or hammertoe deformity if frequently encountered in office practice. The etiology of this condition remains obscure, although intrinsic atrophy or imbalance was suspected as early as 1863 by Duchenne. Arthrodesing the proximal interphalangeal joint converts the more powerful flexor tendon to a flexor of the metatarsophalangeal joint, thereby alleviating pressure on the metatarsal head and distributing the weight more evenly on the forefoot. Arthrodesing is accomplished by the peg and dowel method, with the fourth toe presenting the most technical difficulties. An extensor tenotomy or dorsal capsulotomy of the metatarsophalangeal joint is frequently necessary to realign the toe with the corresponding metatarsal ray. A collodion dressing is used to immobilize the toe for a period of 4 to 6 weeks, with a fusion rate of 97% in 73 toes. All patients were contacted, with 87% responding favorably and stating that they had relief of their pain and were able to resume wearing normal footwear.
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