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Differences between Hammer Toes, Claw Toes, and Mallet Toes

Tuesday, 28 December 2021 00:00

Hammertoes, claw toes, and mallet toes all result from the toes getting bent into odd positions. They usually look odd or unsightly, and they typically affect the smaller toes. When the toe is bent downward and the middle joint raises up, this is known as a hammertoe. This condition frequently affects the second toe and sometimes coincides with a bunion. Claw toes occur when the toes curl up due to the middle joints being bent down, and they often affect all four smaller toes at the same time. When the joint closest to the tip of the toe bends downward, it forms what is known as a mallet toe. Wearing shoes that are too tight is most commonly blamed for these conditions arising, but they can also be linked to diabetes or arthritis. These toe ailments can be quite painful, so patients who are struggling with one would be wise to consult with a podiatrist who can help find a treatment option and determine if surgery is necessary. 

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Dr. Janet Leicht of New Jersey. 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 Berkeley Heights, NJ . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about What Are Hammertoes?
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