Mallet Toes

Mallet Toe is the joint in your toe buckling, causing pain.

A Mallet toe is a deformity that causes the end of your toe to bend downward instead of pointing forward. We only become involved in their treatment when the toe position produces pain, infection or irritation within footwear. Women are more likely to get pain associated with mallet toes than men because of footwear.


Mallet Toe

In Mallet toe, the joint at the end of the toe buckles.

The tip of the toe is often turned down against the shoe causing pressure and discomfort.  In some cases, a bursa (rather like a deep blister) is formed over the joint and this can become inflamed (bursitis). With time, hard skin (callous) or corns (condensed areas of callous) can form over the joints or at the tip of the toe.

What are the common symptoms?

  • Deformity / prominence of toe
  • Pain
  • Redness around the joints
  • Swelling around the joints
  • Corn / Callous
  • Difficulty in shoes
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Stiffness in the joints of the toe

 Excessive rubbing of the mallet toe against the top of the shoe can lead to pain and the development of a corn. 

A mallet toe occurs when the joint at the end of the toe cannot straighten, when the toes become bent at the distal (second) interphalangeal joint, making the toe prominent. This can affect any of the three central toes, however because the second toe is typically the longest, it is the most likely to be affected by mallet toe.

There are many different causes but commonly it is due to shoes or the way in which the foot works (functions) during walking. If the foot is too mobile and / or the tendons that control toe movement are over active, this causes increased pull on the toes which may result in deformity.

The correction of any foot disorder is dependent on the provider understanding the cause of that disorder. If you think you have a Mallet toe, please contact our rooms to arrange an appointment with Mr Edwards.

He will be able to perform a physical examination of your foot and your toe, X-rays may be required and a full explanation of your condition will be given.

Surgery is recommended when your toe is not moving in the flexed position and you have either:

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Irritation in footwear
  • Painful corns on the toes flexed position

 Surgery options include surgically releasing the tendon to help lower your toes position and bone surgery to fuse the toe joint so that toe straightens.

Claw toes can be caused by tight fitting footwear. Tight fitting hosiery, in-particular tight fitting “onsies” for infants can also harm the growing foot and cause toe deformities. It’s best to cut to young feet free and let cover them in cosy, loose fitting clothing. Other toe shapes are inherited and there is little we can do to influence their shape. In general, give your toes room to breathe, treat them like fingers rather than sausages and do your best to accommodate their shape rather than force them into spaces that are too tight.

Dr Edwards can discuss the surgical treatment options available for your Mallet toe during your consultation.

For further advice or to make an appointment, please contact one of our professional team, our numbers and contact details are listed on the Contact page.