Curling your toes is a great way to get a grip on shoes or surfaces. However, a hammer, claw, or mallet toe may have formed if you find it challenging to uncurl your toes. This list of tools and bird parts all describe how the toe will bend, and stay bent, due to nerve damage, shortened tendons, or an imbalance of muscle strength. In general, the large toes are unaffected by these conditions, and it primarily appears in the smaller toes. Often the cause of these toes is the frequent wearing of improperly fitting shoes. When the shoe is too narrow, your large toe will push into your smaller toes, forcing them into a bent position. Over time, the tendons will shorten and some muscles with strengthen while opposing ones will weaken, forcing the toe into the hammer position. Other causes include genetics, neuromuscular conditions, diabetes, flat feet, and bunions.