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Claw Toes, Mallet Toes, Hammer Toes, Oh My!

Anytime your toes bend into an unnatural position, they may not only look odd, but also may cause considerable pain and discomfort. The four smaller toes are most often where these problems occur.

Claw toes bend upward at the first joint and down at the next two joints, so they end up bent like a claw. This often affects all four small toes simultaneously. A mallet toe bends down at the toe tip, and a hammer toe bends downward at the middle joint.

Where a bent toe rubs against your footwear or another toe, corns and calluses may develop requiring additional treatment.

If you still maintain some flexibility in the toe, you may be able to help straighten it using the following treatments and exercises:

●First of all, change your footwear to shoes with extra room in the toe box.

●Use arch supports, orthotic shoe inserts, toe tubes, and moleskin to hold the toes and foot in position and to provide cushioning.

●Carefully use NSAID pain relievers such as ibuprofen and naproxen, being sure to follow the updated labeling instructions.

●Taping, slings, splints and toecaps may also be used to help with proper positioning.

●Exercises such as towel curls, and picking up and dropping marbles with your toes will help to improve their strength and flexibility.

If you continue having problems with pain and discomfort or if you can’t move your toe, your foot specialist may recommend surgery to remove part of the joint, or to move the tendons in order to release stress on the joint and straighten the toe.

The podiatrists at Foot Health Podiatry, PLLC in New York City, NY, have extensive experience in treating toe deformities and are experts in providing the best care for any other problems you may be experiencing with your feet and ankles. Dr. Sorelis Jimenez, Dr. John W. Fletcher and Dr. Kamilla Danilova and the rest of the staff at Foot Health Podiatry, PLLC, are happy to help with any questions or concerns you may have. Check out our Ask The Doctor page for answers to frequently asked questions, and never hesitate to give us a call to talk or make an appointment at 212-845-9991.

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