Deformity of the Toes: Hammertoe, Claw, Mallet Toes

What is toe deformity?

When toes take the shape of an inverted V or Z, or even a hook, it is a deformity of the toe. This refers to three types of deformation: hammer toes, claw or mallet. This pathology affects both sexes but more women than men. Fortunately, solutions exist to remedy this state.

What are the differences between these three types of toe deformity?

The hammer toe is a curved toe in a Z-shaped position. The joint above the toes becomes excessively protruding so that it will rub against the inner wall of the shoe, causing pain when walking. . This type of deformation is the most problematic.

Claw toe is a common condition that affects many women in their 50s. This is a deformity that can affect the second, third, fourth or fifth toes. The toe retracts on itself and comes into conflict with the shoe. A painful lump or sore then forms on the back of the toe.

Mallet toe is a rather rare condition that usually affects the second toe, although the other toes can be affected. The affected toe bends downward at the outermost joint creating moderate pain. The nail changes shape and a small horn may develop.

What causes these three types of toe deformity?

There are many causes of toe deformity:

  • wearing shoes that do not fit your feet, are too tight or lack support;
  • hereditary factors;
  • trauma to the muscles or nerves in the leg or foot;
  • flat or hollow feet;
  • knees bent inward (valgum) or outward (varum);
  • a lack of balance;
  • ligament hyperlaxity;
  • Hallux valgus or a deformity of the forefoot.

What are the symptoms of these types of toe deformities?

The symptoms of these pathologies are:

The hammer and claw toe:

  • Pain in the affected toe;
  • The central toe joint is bent;
  • Possible dislocation of the toe over time;
  • Often a callus forms on the toe;
  • Another callus may form in the sole of the foot;
  • Wearing shoes or walking can be painful.

The mallet toe:

  • Deformation of the nail with possible formation of a small horn;
  • Irritation of the affected toe joint.

How to prevent hammer toes?

There are a few things you can do every day that can help prevent the onset of hammer toes or limit their progression.

  • Avoid at all costs wearing narrow, tight, pointed, uncomfortable and unsuitable shoes;
  • Choose shoes with good foot support;
  • Use soft soles to relieve pressure on the foot;
  • Protect the horn with a protective ring to reduce the friction of the toe on the shoe.

What care can a podiatrist provide to you?

The podiatrist can help you relieve the pain caused by these different types of toe deformity. To do this, it is important to make an appointment with a good podiatrist who can customize the treatment according to your situation. Here are some possible treatments that the podiatrist can offer you:

  • removable and tailor-made orthoplasties to relieve pain by keeping the toes in a favorable position, eliminate friction from the shoe and reduce deformation.
  • plantar orthotics that allow the good muscular balance that your goods need.
  • splints: the pediatrician can advise you on the right splints for your toes.
  • cortisone injections to relieve joint symptoms. However, this treatment is only used if your condition requires it.
  • surgery for the most severe cases.

Make an appointment

Don’t wait for hammer toes to make your life difficult. PodiatreMD is a network in downtown Montreal, on Rue Jean-Talon (corner Lucerne), Laval, West Island, and Gatineau. We are here to serve you. Our podiatrist can provide you with the solution to your pain.