Mallet toe is similar to hammertoe, except the distal joint near the end of the toe, rather than the middle joint, contracts downward. The bend of the toe can cause severe, painful corns and possibly ulcers on the tip of the toe. Because of its length, the second toe is most at risk for developing mallet toe.
Mallet toe can be caused by injury, tight shoes, muscle and bone imbalances, and arthritis.
In early stages of development, mallet toes still have joint flexibility. As time progresses without treatment, the joint and tendons contract and freeze, causing misalignment and creating the mallet shape and position. Symptoms include:
- Swelling, redness and irritation
- Corns, calluses, and possible ulcers in diabetic patients
Non-surgical treatment of mallet toe includes better-fitting shoes, callus shaping and care, toe pads, low heels and therapy. If surgery is required, your surgeon may recommend one or more procedures to restore toes to their proper alignment and functionality. To learn more about surgical options, please review the HAT-TRICK◊ section of this website.