Lesser toe deformities

Lesser toe deformities

There are numerous orthopaedic conditions that can affect the lesser toes and lead to pain and deformity. Claw toes, hammer toes, overlapping toes, curly toes, ingrown nails, and arthritis are only a few of the conditions that can be managed for your at Panorama Orthopaedics.

Commonly reported symptoms from conditions affecting the toes include:

  • pain, particularly where the toes rub on footwear
  • formation of corns or callouses from rubbing
  • deformity of the nails, including cutting of adjacent toes from neighbouring nails
  • stiffness and loss of motion
  • inability to bear weight on the area

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and are concerned you may have a problem with your toes, contact you local doctor for review and seek referral to an orthopaedic surgeon. Podiatry is a key part of maintaining the health and function of your toes and feet, and is also a great place to go for initial advice and treatment. A lot of problems can be managed non-operatively, with only a fraction of cases requiring surgical correction. Footwear, orthotics and activity modification should be trialled before surgical intervention. If these measures have failed, surgery can provide a definitive solution that restores the quality of life you have lost.

  • What is a claw toe?

    A claw toe is caused by one of the tendons in the foot contracting, causing the first bone to pulled upwards. The tendon on the other side then pulls more, leading to the second and third bones of the toe being pulled down.
  • What is a hammer toe?

    In a hammer toe, the first bone is raised upwards, with the second bone sloping downwards and the third bone flat on the ground. This is also due to abnormalities in the long tendons supplying the toe.
  • What is a mallet toe?

    Also the result of muscle imbalances in the toes, in a mallet toe the first two bones are straight, and the third bone is sharply pointing downwards.
  • What treatment will I need?

    Your surgeon will assess your toes to establish the cause of the problem, as well as the flexibility, stability and sensation of the toes. You will also have an xray performed to assess the deformity. Most lesser toe deformities will eventually require surgery, which can vary from simple soft tissue releases, to bony realignment and fusion procedures. The aim of all surgery is to provide you with a pain free foot that allows you to walk and use appropriate footwear. Non-operative options will always be trialled as a first step, with your treatment plan tailored to your unique situation.