Mallet Toe

A mallet toe is a toe that is shaped like a mallet. In normal anatomy, the distal interphalangeal joint (DIP) and proximal interphalangeal joint (PIP) are lined up properly and the toe joints are lined up in a 180 degree line. In a mallet toe, the toe joint farthest from the spot where the toe meets the foot (DIP joint) is out of alignment and points upward while the toenail points downward. The toe cannot straighten. The affected toe then rubs against the top of the shoe, forming a blister, a hardened area and then a callus or a corn. There is also pain in the tip of the toe as it is crammed downward into the bottom of the shoe. Cause The cause of mallet toes can be arthritis or improperly fitting shoes such as narrow shoes. Treatment & Prevention The treatment of mallet toe begins with eliminating the friction and relieving pressure on the toe by wearing proper shoes. Shoes should be wide with a high toe box that allows extra room over the top of the toe. If your wearing orthotics, consider a ¾ orthotic arch support.