Mallet Toe Information... Treatment Options Available.

What is a Mallet Toe?

A mallet toe can be described as a toe which curls over or is flexed at the distal(end) toe joint.

What causes toes to curl over?
These toes may be caused by:

  • Trauma. Fixation and stiffness of the distal toe joint may occur following injury;
  • Prolonged use of incorrect or poorly fitting footwear may also contribute to the development;
  • Arthritis can certainly give rise to this type of toe malalinment; or
  • Bone and muscle imbalances due to incorrect foot posture and excessive foot pronation or supination may also allow development to occur.

    How are these curly toes prevented?
    Preventing the development of toe deformities means controlling bone and muscle imbalances due to malalignment. This is usually carried out using a specific combination of exercises, taping, mobilisation and orthotic inserts.

    How are mallet toes treated?
    Initially, the treatment is focused on accommodating the deformity. This will include the use of a shoes with a broad or deep toe box and various types of useful toe supports including:

  • toe crests or toe bolster supports;
  • toe caps lined with gel; or
  • gel toe shields;

    If foot or leg malalignment is present, this should be treated using orthotic appliances.

    What happens if these curly toes are left untreated?
    Abnormal pressure and irritation of skin can occur as a result of this deformity. This can lead to callous formation, corns and sometimes ulceration and/or infection.

    So have your toes assessed. Early treatment can lead to successful results with conservative treatment measures. If left too long, toe surgery may be needed.

    If you need further assistance, consult your podiatrist, chiropodist or foot doctor.



    WARNING : This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional podiatric advice. Treatment will vary between individuals depending upon your diagnosis and presenting complaint. An accurate diagnosis can only be made following personal consultation with a Podiatrist, your Doctor or your foot specialist.

    For more information on aching feet and many other foot pain, leg pain and back pain conditions please visit our Foot Pain Conditions page and click on the condition of interest to you.

    To find a Podiatrist or Foot Doctor near you visit our Find a Podiatrist page and click on your country.

    Still have a question about your foot problem, leg pain or you just need some footwear advice?

    Visit our Foot Problems page and ask us a question about your specific problem. We'll do our best to help.

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    Click on the following link for more information on mallet toe problems and other foot pain complaints.

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