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Mallet toe is a foot deformity that occurs when the joint at the end of the toe, known as the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint, bends abnormally. This causes the toe to appear like a mallet, hence its name. Mallet toe is most commonly seen in the second, third, and fourth toes. While hammertoe and mallet toe share similarities, they differ in their specific joint involvement. Hammertoe exhibits an unusual bend in the middle joint of a toe, whereas mallet toe presents a bend in the joint nearest the toenail.

Causes of Mallet Toe

Mallet toe can arise from a variety of factors. Some people may be more genetically predisposed to developing the condition, particularly if they have a family history of foot deformities. However, external factors often play a significant role in the onset of mallet toe. These can range from the type of footwear you choose to specific behaviors and activities. Here is a list of some common causes of mallet toe:

  • Wearing tight, narrow, or high-heeled shoes that place excessive pressure on the toes
  • Trauma or injury to the toe, such as a heavy object falling on it
  • High arches or flat feet can put extra stress on the toe joints
  • Arthritis, which can cause inflammation and stiffness in the toe joints
  • Diabetes as it can cause nerve damage that affects foot health and function

Mallet Toe Symptoms

Mallet toe is often easy to spot due to its characteristic appearance. However, some people may confuse it with other toe deformities or conditions. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is essential to seek professional medical advice for an accurate diagnosis. Here are some common symptoms of mallet toe:

  • A bent or curled toe that resembles a mallet
  • Pain and discomfort in the affected toe when wearing shoes or walking
  • Difficulty straightening the toe or keeping it in a neutral position
  • Corns or calluses forming on the top of the bent toe
  • Redness, swelling, and inflammation at the affected joint

Treating Mallet Toe

Alliance Orthopedics offers comprehensive treatment options for mallet toe, ranging from non-invasive methods to surgical procedures. The type of treatment recommended will depend on the severity and underlying cause of your mallet toe. After assessing your symptoms and medical history, our specialists will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan. Some common treatments for mallet toe include:

  • Changing footwear to roomier and more supportive shoes
  • Using orthotic inserts or splints to help straighten the toe
  • Physical therapy exercises to improve flexibility and strength in the toes
  • Corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain
  • Surgery to realign the affected toe and correct any underlying issues, such as bone spurs or tendon damage

At Alliance Orthopedics, we are dedicated to helping our patients find relief from foot pain and discomfort caused by mallet toe. Our team of experts is well-equipped with the knowledge and tools to diagnose and treat this condition effectively. Don’t let mallet toe prevent you from living a healthy and active lifestyle – schedule an appointment with us today.

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