Dealing With Mallet Toe

One of several common toe deformities is mallet toe. Common causes of mallet toe include the imbalance of muscle and bones, where the toe bones are too short and the muscles too weak. This imbalance forces the tip of the toe to curl under. Mallet toe commonly affects any of the three middle toes of the foot. It can also be caused by an injury, arthritis, and improperly fitting footwear. People who wear high heels with narrow toe boxes are more at risk for developing mallet toe. Other factors include genetic makeup and toe length. If the 2nd and 3rd toes are longer than the big toe, mallet toe may result. In some cases mallet toe problems can be eased simply by changing the type of shoe you wear, but in more severe cases, surgery to release the tendon and straighten the toe is an option. Recovery time for this type of surgery can take up to two months. If a mallet toe is giving you problems, it is suggested that you make an appointment with a podiatrist for an examination and a treatment plan.

Toe pain can disrupt your daily activities. If you have any concerns, contact Kenneth H. Nixon, DPM of Western Reserve Foot Clinic. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Causes Toe Pain?

Most severe toe pain is caused due to a sports injury, trauma from dropping something heavy on the toe, or bumping into something rigid. Other problems can develop over time for various reasons.

Toe pain can be caused by one or more ailments. The most common include:

  • Trauma
  • Sports injury
  • Wearing shoes that are too tight
  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Corns and calluses
  • Hammertoe
  • Bunions
  • Blisters
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Sprains
  • Fractures (broken bones)
  • Dislocations

When to See a Podiatrist

  • Severe pain
  • Persistent pain that lasts more than a week
  • Signs of infection
  • Continued swelling
  • Pain that prevents walking


In many cases the cause of toe pain is obvious, but in others, a podiatrist may want to use more advanced methods to determine the problem. These can range from simple visual inspections and sensation tests to X-rays and MRI scans. Prior medical history, family medical history, and any recent physical traumatic events will all be taken into consideration for a proper diagnosis.


Treatments for toe pain and injuries vary and may include shoe inserts, padding, taping, medicines, injections, and in some cases, surgery. If you believe that you have broken a toe, please see a podiatrist as soon as possible.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Stow, OH . We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.