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Answers to questions about toe deformities.

Q I have painful hammertoes. Can anything be done to correct this problem?

A Hammertoe syndrome is characterized by an abnormal bend in the middle joint of the toe, most commonly the second, third, and fourth toes. Another abnormality, mallet toe, affects the joint closest to the toenail.

Hammertoes and mallet toes both result from abnormalities in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that keep the toes straight. Trauma to the toe, arthritis, genetics, and wearing tight shoes can cause hammertoes and mallet toes.

In the earlier stages, the toes are still moveable, but later the toes can become rigid. The affected toe may develop pain, redness, and swelling, and may be prone to corns or calluses. Hammertoes also may cause pain in the ball of the foot at the base of the affected toe.

Hammertoes and mallet toes may be treated conservatively with padding or custom inserts, as well as exercises that target the toe muscles. You also may need to switch to roomier, more comfortable shoes. If these treatments aren't effective, you may need surgery to release the affected tendon in the toe or to remove a section of bone and realign the joint.

Editor-in-Chief Richard S. Lang, M.D., M.P.H., EA.C.P.

Vice Chairman, Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute

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Title Annotation:ASK DR. LANG
Author:Lang, Richard S.
Publication:Men's Health Advisor
Date:Jun 1, 2019
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