A mallet toe is a toe that is bent downward at the joint at the tip of the toe. The deformity can occur on all of the toes including the big toe. When it is the big toe it is called hallux malleolus. The deformity is caused when an imbalance occurs between the two sets of muscles that cause the toe to flex or extend. When one set over powers the other the deformity occurs. The deformity is flexible initially and over time becomes rigid or non-reducible.
Mallet toes are typically painful at the tip of the toe due to excessive pressure. Often thickened skin can form at the tip of the toe resulting in pain. In patients with no feeling in their feet this can lead to ulcerations. Pain due to shoe pressure can also occur at the top of the joint. Pain can also occur at the joint which can become inflamed.
Treatment is designed to limit irritation of the toe. An extra depth shoe like those found on this site allow plenty of room for the toes. Inner soles with a metatarsal pad such as the Tri-Performance arch support by Scott will help decrease stress on the ball of the foot which is associated with claw toes. Topical pads made of foam, felt or silicone can be applied directly to the toe to decrease inflammation. The All Gel Toe Crest works well in preventing the tip of the toe to hit the shoe.
Avoid use of chemical corn removers or the cutting of corns especially if you are diabetic, have circulation or immunity problems.