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3 Abnormalities of the Toes

There are many reasons people experience foot pain, including wearing tight shoes or having ingrown toenails or foot abnormalities. While some foot problems are easily resolved by adding orthotics to shoes or having non-invasive treatments from a podiatrist, others require surgical repairs. Although there are some non-surgical remedies for toe abnormalities, surgical repairs may be necessary when toes are severely deformed.

Toe Abnormalities

Problems affecting the shape and position of toes can have many causes, including:

  • wearing shoes which don’t fit properly,
  • bunions,
  • feet with high arches,
  • rheumatoid arthritis,
  • hereditary,
  • serious injuries, and
  • tendon imbalances.

These issues can lead to abnormalities, of which there are three main types: claw toes, hammer toes, and mallet toes.

Claw Toes

Most toes have three joints, except the big toe which only has two. Claw toes occur when there are problems with the joints, resulting in the first joint bending upwards while the middle or end joint bends down, making the toe appear claw-like.

The joint problems can cause severe pressure and foot pain in Perth. This usually causes the ligaments and tendons in the toes to tighten since the joints make them curl downwards. Claw toes can occur in any of the toes, except the big one.

Hammer Toes

This condition causes the toe to bend at the middle joint, which usually occurs in the second toe, but it can develop in others. This results in the tendons to shorten, which curls the toes in a downward position. A bunion is often present along with a hammer toe, and toes can sometimes overlap.

Mallet Toes

A mallet toe occurs when the end joint is bent down and cannot straighten. This can cause corns to develop on the joint, which can eventually form an ulcer. There are two types of mallet toes. Flexible mallet toes are in the early stages, and the joint is still able to move. Rigid mallet toes occur when tendons get tight and the joint misaligns, which causes it to be fixed into position.

These toe conditions can be very painful and affect a patient’s ability to walk. While there are non-surgical treatments for these conditions, if the joint deformities are severe, then surgery may be needed to realign the toes. The podiatrist will usually try more conservative treatments to maintain or restore the patient’s mobility, relieve pain, and delay or stop progression of the deformity.

A surgeon will consider several factors when recommending surgery, such as:

  • the patient’s age,
  • the severity of the toe deformity,
  • the flexibility or rigidity of the toes, and
  • the patient’s physical condition and medical history.

The way the surgery is performed will depend on the flexibility or rigidity of the joint. It will affect where the surgeon cuts and whether they need to remove bone.

While most surgeries are successful, there can be complications, including nerve damage, stiffness in the toe, and loss of blood supply in the toe. If your toes are positioned abnormally and you are experiencing pain, you need to visit a podiatrist to have them diagnosed and treated.

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