If your toe is still flexible, your doctor may recommend that you change to roomier and more comfortable footwear and that you wear shoe inserts (orthotics) or pads. Wearing inserts or pads can reposition your toe and relieve pressure and pain.
In addition, your doctor may suggest exercises to stretch and strengthen your toe muscles. These may include picking up marbles or a thin towel off the floor with your toes.
If conservative treatments don't help, your doctor may recommend surgery to release the tendon that's preventing your toe from lying flat. In some cases, your doctor might also remove some pieces of bone to straighten your toe.
March 15, 2013
- Frontera WR, et al. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Musculoskeletal Disorders, Pain, and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1678/0.html. Accessed Jan. 10, 2013.
- Hammer toe. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00160. Accessed Jan. 10, 2013.
- DeLee JC, et al. DeLee & Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine: Principles and Practice. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-3143-7..X0001-2--TOP&isbn=978-1-4160-3143-7&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed Jan. 11, 2013.
- Malloy A, et al. Mallet toe deformity. Foot and Ankle Clinics of North America. 2011;16:537.
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Selecting footwear for healthier feet. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.