Distinguishing Your Toe Deformity

Feb 10, 2016

Precision is important in lots of professions. Lawyers use it to fend off fights between siblings concerning a will. Engineers use it to make sure parts of a machine work together as they should. Imagine if a surgeon did an amputation when an appendectomy was required! We want to be precise as well—about the different types of toe deformities that can happen in your feet.

  • Hammertoes involve the joint between your toe and your foot, which bends up, and the next one in the middle of your toe, which bends down. This forms the toe into a peak in the middle, which is a problem when you want to wear shoes. The bent joint pokes up against the inside of your shoe and rubs against it.
  • Mallet toes occur most often in the second toe, and usually when it is longer than your first toe. In this case, most of the toe lies flat, but the very end joint bends down. The top of this joint can also rub against your shoe, but often the problem is also abnormal pressure on the tip of your toe, which could lead to calluses or nail deformity.
  • Claw toes combine both elements: the joint by the foot bends up, and both other joints bend down, so the toe resembles a curled up claw. It often occurs in all four smaller toes together. It can lead to friction hot spots and calluses, but in addition, the curled toes can press into the sole of the foot, causing pain in the front of the foot as well.

These abnormalities affect your smaller toes, but not the big toe. However, it can have its own problems with the sideways protruding joint of a bunion, causing stiffness and pain in the same way as these deformities do. (The small toe can have a similar problem, called a bunionette).

No matter which type of toe deformity you have, we can help you determine the cause—whether that’s a genetic condition, an injury, poor shoe choice, or a neuro-muscular problem. We can find a solution to your pain as well, many times with conservative remedies. Come see us at Brook Valley Podiatry for prompt, effective treatment. Reach us by phone at (845) 352-0757 in Spring Valley, NY or online with our contact form for an appointment.

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