Lesser Toe Deformities-mallet Toes, Hammertoes, Claw Toes

A Mallet toe is a contracture, or bending, of the toe at the distal joint (DIP) of the digit, called the distal interphalangeal joint. In a Hammertoe deformity, the first joint (MTP) is cocked upward, and the middle joint (PIP) bends downward. A Claw toe deformity has a cocked up MTP joint, and both the middle joint (PIP) and the distal joint (the DIP) are bent downwards like a claw.

These problems can occur due to very tight, pointed and high-heeled shoes and can be genetic also. Claw toes are common in people with high arches. And they can come from a muscle imbalance in which the deeper (intrinsic) toe muscles are weaker than the surface (extrinsic) muscles of the toes. This type of muscle imbalance can occur from severe neuropathy commonly seen in Diabetes Mellitus.

These deformities initially are flexible, however can become rigid over due course of time and can cause pain, calluses and ulcers at which point they need surgical treatment.