Many disorders can affect the joints in the
toes, causing pain and preventing the foot from functioning as it should.
A mallet toe occurs when the joint at the end of the toe cannot
straighten. Excessive rubbing of the mallet toe against the top of the
shoe can lead to pain and the development of a corn. The tip of the toe is
often turned down against the shoe causing pressure and discomfort.
The development of mallet toes is often
caused by bone and muscle imbalances. These imbalances become exaggerated
in people with active lifestyles. For example, people who are constantly
on their feet or participate in athletic activities are more likely to
develop mallet toes.
Arthritis can also lead to many forefoot
deformities including mallet toes. Mallet toes can cause extreme
discomfort, and can be aggravated if restrictive or improperly fitting
footwear is worn for a prolonged period of time.
Treatment and Prevention
Any forefoot problems that cause pain or
discomfort should be given prompt attention. Ignoring the symptoms can
aggravate the condition and lead to a breakdown of tissue, or possibly
even infection. Conservative treatment of mallet toes begins with
accommodating the deformity. The goal is to relieve pressure, reduce
friction, and transfer forces from the sensitive areas.
Shoes with a high and broad toe box (toe
area) are recommended for people suffering from forefoot deformities such
as mallet toes. This prevents further irritation in the toe area from
developing. Other conservative treatment includes forefoot supports such
as gel toe caps, gel toe shields and toe crests. Gel forefoot supports
provide immediate comfort and relief from common forefoot disorders
without drying the skin.
If the problem persists, consult your