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Hammer, Mallet, and Claw Toes

Tuesday, 28 September 2021 00:00

There are three common toe deformities that podiatrists often see and treat in patients. Hammertoes are characterized by the downward bending of the toe at the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint, located in the middle of the toe. Mallet toes are characterized by the downward bending of the toe at the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint, located near the tip of the toe. Claw toes are characterized by an upwards bend of the toe at the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint, located at the base of the toe. All three of these deformities can cause pain and stiffness. Corns and calluses are more likely to develop on affected toes as they rub up against the shoes while you walk. If you have a painful toe deformity it is suggested that you seek the care of a podiatrist. 

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Dr. Jeff Brooks of Oceanside Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctor will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that occurs due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight. It can be caused by the type of shoes you wear, your foot structure, trauma, and certain disease processes.

Symptoms

  • Painful and/or difficult toe movement
  • Swelling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Calluses/Corns
  • Physical deformity

Risk Factors

  • Age – The risk of hammertoe increases with age
  • Sex – Women are more likely to have hammertoe compared to men
  • Toe Length – You are more likely to develop hammertoe if your second toe is longer than your big toe
  • Certain Diseases – Arthritis and diabetes may make you more likely to develop hammertoe

Treatment

If you have hammertoe, you should change into a more comfortable shoe that provides enough room for your toes. Exercises such as picking up marbles may strengthen and stretch your toe muscles. Nevertheless, it is important to seek assistance from a podiatrist in order to determine the severity of your hammertoe and see which treatment option will work best for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Oceanside, CA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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