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Hammer,Claw,and Mallet Toes

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See pictures of hammer, claw, and mallet toes .

In more severe cases, these toe problems may affect your balance and make it hard to walk. You may get calluses or corns where a bent toe presses against another toe or your shoe.

How are hammer, claw, and mallet toes diagnosed?

Your doctor will diagnose your toe problem by looking at your toes and asking you questions about your symptoms. People rarely need tests. Your doctor may suggest an X-ray to look at the bone structure, especially if you are thinking about having surgery.

How are they treated?

You can treat hammer, claw, and mallet toes at home by wearing footwear with lots of room for your toes, using pads and supports in the shoe, and doing toe exercises. Doing these things will give the toe room to straighten, cushion the toe and hold it straight, and make the toe muscles stronger and more flexible. You can use over-the-counter medicine to treat pain.

If your pain is too great or you cannot easily do daily activities, then surgery is possible. But there is not much research on surgeries for these toe problems. Talk to your doctor about the types of surgeries and how much they may help you.

Surgery may not help how your foot looks, and your toe problem may also come back after surgery. This is more likely if you continue to wear the types of shoes that cause toe problems.

Learning about hammer, claw, and mallet toes:

Being diagnosed:

Getting treatment:

Living with hammer, claw, and mallet toes:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 29, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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