Toe Deformities

Some ailments of the feet are easily disguised and can go untreated for years. However, there are a few that need to be treated in the earliest stages to get any relief from the symptoms.

For example, fairly common diseases of the foot are known as toe deformities. These ailments are oftentimes caused by a muscle imbalance in the foot. This can be caused by several factors such as flatfeet, a traumatic injury, or disease of the toe joints.

Because the ailment of flat feet means that the foot is longer than that of a foot with a normal arch, the flexor muscles become overpowering. The toes are generally not strong enough to resist this tension which results in one of three deformities:


Mallet toe - this happens when the distal phalanx is displaced downward giving the appearance of a mallet. As with a claw toe, a thickening of skin or corn may grow at the tip of the toe where it is touching the ground.

Hammertoe - is when the proximal phalanx causes the middle phalanx to bend downward and the distal phalanx to lay flat on the ground. A thickening of skin known as a corn may occur on top of the toe at the contracture.

Claw toe – is what happens when the middle bone is pulled significantly downward causing the proximal to buckle upward with the middle and distal phalanx bending downward. A corn may develop at both tip of the toe (mallet toe) and the top of the contracture (hammertoe).

If left untreated, these ailments can lead to other problems such as calluses (corns), infection and ulcerations.

These conditions can either be treated conservatively with padding and debridement or permanently with a surgical procedure.

Disclaimer: The advice on this website is not intended to substitute for a visit to your health care provider. We will not be held liable for any diagnosis made or treatment recommended. Consult your doctor if you feel you have a medical problem.

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