What is a Mallet Toe?

A mallet toe occurs in the four smaller toes of the foot, and causes the end of the toe to become bent. The condition is very common to see in infants, but is often easily corrected with the use of digital splinting and some exercises.

Normally, these bones in the end of the toe are straight, but the mallet toe condition will cause a bend at the distal interphalangeal joint. In the short term, a bursa can form over the joint, eventually leading to bursitis of the joint. Over time, callouses and corns can develop over the joint, effectively locking the joint into place.

What Causes Mallet Toes?

Mallet toes are most commonly caused by the shoes that we wear, and the way that our foot responds when walking in them. When the foot is able to move too much, or the tendons that are controlling the toes are being overworked, it causes an increased amount of pull on the toe joints.

Preexisting conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and neuromuscular conditions, as well as trauma to the toes, can also predispose patients to developing mallet toes. Finding a proper fitting pair of shoes that can accommodate a mallet toe abnormality is vital to ensuring that the condition does not worsen over time.

Treatment Options for Mallet Toes

Conservative treatments for mallet toes involve the introduction of an orthopedic padding to the shoe to redistribute weight from the ball of the foot. Many times, a small splint or piece of tape will be worn to adjust the toe into the correct position.

To fully correct a mallet toe abnormality, surgery is required. Depending on the level of rigidness of the mallet toe, the procedure may be as simple as performing a tendon release on the toe, to a midlevel procedure that removes a small section of bone, or as severe as performing a fusion on the toe joint in an outpatient setting.

Mallet Toe Disorder Treatment in Illinois

If you suffer from mallet toes or any other foot or ankle disorder, be sure to contact Dr. Anand Vora today. As an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in disorders of the foot and ankle, Dr. Vora will use his extensive medical background to ensure you are on the best path to recovery. Learn more about the different foot and ankle conditions Dr. Vora treats before scheduling your appointment at one of his office locations!