These are the names given to toes when they become abnormally bent. It can be attributed to an imbalance in the toe muscles and tendons, tight fitting shoes, injury, or certain diseases that exacerbate the tendency of the toes to bend in the shape of a hammer or mallet. A hammertoe bends at the middle toe joint, while a mallet toe (or claw toe) bends at the joint near the toenail. Most often the second, third, and fourth toes are affected by these deformities

In the initial stages, a bent toe may not be cause for alarm, but as the condition progresses the tendons and ligaments of the toe can tighten further thereby preventing any bending at all and causing considerable pain. This permanently bent condition will also cause the affected toes to rub on your footwear causing the additional problems of corns and calluses.

Risk factors for developing toe deformities include:

  • Gender—Females are considerably more susceptible than men for developing these conditions.
  • Age—People over 50 are more likely to develop hammer and mallet toes, along with
  • Length—In certain people, the second toe is longer than the big toe and is therefore much more likely to develop this deformity.
  • Systemic diseases—Diabetes and arthritis sufferers are also more susceptible.

When mallet toes or hammertoes cause you pain and discomfort, the pressure and pain can be relieved with specially designed shoe inserts and pads that help to straighten out the toes and alleviate the rubbing. The often accompanying corns and calluses can also be addressed at the same time.

If you are experiencing complications with hammertoes, talking to an experienced board-certified podiatrist for proper diagnosis and treatment is essential. At Podiatry Center of New Jersey, Dr. Russell Samofal treats a variety of conditions such as sports injuries, diabetic foot problems, pediatric foot conditions, arthritis, nail fungus, arch problems and heel pain. Equipped with advanced technologies and a dedicated staff, Podiatry Center of New Jersey provides individualized high quality care for patients all across Morris, Passaic, Bergen and Essex counties. Contact our Wayne office at (973) 925-4111 for an appointment.