Hammertoe and mallet toe are foot deformities that occur due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight.
These deformities can be as a result type of shoes you wear, foot structure, trauma and certain disease processes.
A hammertoe has an abnormal bend in the middle joint of a toe. Mallet toe affects the joint nearest the toenail.
Hammertoe and mallet toe usually occur in the second, third and fourth toes.
Relieving the pain and pressure of hammertoe and mallet toe may involve making footwear changes and wearing shoe inserts. In more severe case of hammertoe or mallet toe, surgery might be needed to get relief.
Several treatment methods exist for hammertoe and mallet toe.
If one’s toe is still flexible, their doctor might recommend that they change to roomier, more comfortable footwear and that they wear shoe inserts (orthotics) or pads.
Inserts or pads can reposition the toe and relieve pressure and pain. In addition, the doctor might suggest exercises — such as picking up marbles or crumpling a towel with the toes this is done in order to stretch and strengthen the toe muscles.
In situations where conservative treatments don't help, doctors might recommend surgery to release the tendon that's preventing the toe from lying flat.
In some cases, the surgeon also might remove a piece of bone to straighten the toe.
One can prevent the development of hammertoe and mallet toe by wearing the right footwear.
Certain shoes like high-heeled shoes or footwear that's too tight in the toe box can crowd y toes into a space in which they can't lie flat.
Another way is by avoiding any trauma as injury to a toe can make it more likely for it to develop hammertoe and mallet toe.
7 Risks and Complications
Factors that can increase you risk of hammertoe and mallet toe include:
Age. The risk of hammertoe and mallet toe increases with age.
Women are much more likely to develop hammertoe or mallet toe than are men.
Another factor is toe length. If one’s second toe is longer than their big toe, it's at higher risk of hammertoe or mallet toe.
Certain diseases. Arthritis and diabetes might make one more prone to developing foot deformities.
Genetics might also play a role.
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