Hammer Toe, Mallet Toe & Claw ToePrevention, treatment and management of toe deformities
HAMMER, MALLET & CLAW TOES
Hammer toe, mallet toe, and claw toe deformities are terms used to describe specific positional misalignments of the smaller lateral four toes. All of the deformities result in the toes being bent out of position. The bent position of the toe or toes may either be flexible or can become ridged meaning toes cannot be straightened to a normal position. Deformities become rigid after long periods of time or severity.
The cause of hammer, mallet and claw toes is due to a shortening and tightening of the muscles and tendons in the foot that attach to the toes. This maybe due to the following reasons:
- Wearing shoes that are too small or too narrow for your feet can cause your toes to become crowded in your shoes and bent out of position. If your toes spend too much time bent out of position this may lead to permanently bent toes.
- Arthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis
- A family history of hammer, mallet and claw toes
- Bunions may also cause the lateral four toes to become deformed. This is due to the misalignment bunions cause to the big toe pushing it inwards towards the lateral four toes. This can cause crowding of the four toes and cause a bent position.
- High arched feet
- Trauma and fractured bones
- Diabetes Mellitus which can lead to weakness of muscles in the foot
- Neurological conditions
You may notice some of the below conditions if you are suffering from hammer, mallet and claw toes.
- Bent toes
- Hard skin forming corns and calluses on your toes
- Redness and inflammation of the toes
- Difficulty fitting your toes inside your shoes comfortably
- Toe pain
- Stiff ridged toes
Your Podiatrist can help provide you solutions to to manage and treat hammer, mallet and claw toes:
- Wearing shoes that have been properly fitted is very important for preventing and stopping the deformity from further progressing. At Perform Podiatry we can help you find the right pair of shoes for your feet that are comfortable and still look fashionable
- Padding worn in your shoes, or between toes to provide comfort
- Stretching and strengthening exercises
- Reducing hard skin that has developed from toes being bent out of position is helpful in maintaining comfort
If surgery is required, our podiatrists can help answer your questions and assess if surgery is the best option for you. At Perform Podiatry we have close referring networks with the best foot and ankle surgeons across Melbourne.
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