A hammertoe is a retraction or clawing of the toes.
The toes are named one to five with the big toe being one and the little tope being five.
The toes begin to bend and often pull back. The toes should ideally be straight with a possible very slight bend. This bend should be flexible or what we call reducible. You should be able to push the toes straight.
Typically the bend or retraction will be slight and gradual with increasing deformity and rigidity as time goes on.