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Toe Deformity- What Causes It And What Are Its Treatment Options?

Dr. T V Raja 88% (15 ratings)
MBBS, MS - Orthopaedics
Orthopedist, Chennai
Toe Deformity- What Causes It And What Are Its Treatment Options?

Have you ever come across a person with usual toes, toes that are mysteriously curled or bend upwards, downwards or inwards? As strange and intriguing as it may appear, the condition can be quite painful and is known as toe deformity. In toe deformity, the foot bone is unusually and abnormally positioned, resulting in pain and discomfort.

Toe deformity in a person can be of different types. It can be:

  1. Hammer toe: This is one of the most commonly observed toe deformity. A hammer toe is characterized by the curling or bending down of the second toe at the proximal interphalangeal joint (the middle toe joint). The toe may further bend up at the distal interphalangeal joint (joint adjacent to the toe tip) or the metatarsophalangeal joint (meeting point of the foot and the toe) as well. In hammer toe, the awkward alignment results in a slight elevation in the joint of the middle toe. A hammer toe is often seen accompanied by a bunion (a bony bump or a deformity formed at the joint that links the foot with the big toe).
  2. Mallet toe: Mallet toe mostly affects the second toe (other toes may be affected). The deformity results in bending down of the toe at the distal interphalangeal joint (appears like a mallet).
  3. Claw toe: The deformity affects all the toes, with the big toe being an exception. Here, the toes bend up at the metatarsophalangeal joint and bend down at the distal interphalangeal joint. The deformity results in the toes curling down towards the floor (appears claw-like).

What causes Toe Deformity?
There can be many factors responsible for toe deformities.

  1. Toe deformity in a person may be congenital (present from birth).
  2. It can also be an outcome of medical conditions such as arthritis (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis), stroke, heart attack, diabetes, an injury, an accident, or wearing wrong footwear.
  3. Toe deformity can also be hereditary.

Signs and symptoms:
The symptoms for Toe Deformity (hammer toe, claw toe, and mallet toe) include

  1. There is redness, pain, and swelling in the affected part of the toe. In claw toe, however, there may or may not be pain associated with the condition.
  2. A person faces difficulties in straightening the toe.
  3. In hammer toe, corns, and calluses appear on the middle joint (top) of the affected toe.
  4. In mallet toe, ulcers may occur on the toe (in diabetic patients).

Initially, toe deformity appears flexible, where movement around the affected joint is possible. However, if left unattended, the condition can become severe and rigid, thereby restricting the movement (in the affected area). Treatment for toe deformity depends on how severe the condition is.

  1. In most cases, the treatment involves wearing custom-made shoes, fitted with supports (cushions or pads) and wider toe box.
  2. Using of tapes and splints may be helpful in correcting and repositioning the deformed toe.
  3. Patients with excruciating pain benefit immensely from cortisone injections.
  4. Corn pads can be used to deal with corns and calluses better.
  5. Toe stretching exercises are highly effective.

If severe cases or extreme rigidity, doctors may opt for surgical treatments like arthrodesis, tendon transfer, arthroplasty, to name a few. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Orthopedist.

2553 people found this helpful

Health Tip!

Physiotherapist, Mumbai
Health Tip!

Five mintutes fitness
Today, due to the demanding professional lifestyle many working women choose to adopt dieting and various other weight loss remedies which tend to give temporary results and sometimes have an adverse effect on the mind and body.

A healthy mind and body is achieved by having right balance of proper food and regular workout. Basic alteration in the daily routine like reducing the intake of oil and fatty foods and sweets with five minutes of simple cardio exercises can bring a lot of difference and could lower the risk of health issues like breast cancer, heart problems, osteoporosis and other aliments in women.
With the increasing awareness of these and other health issues some women have managed to alter their lifestyle. But, many are still seeking a quick way to remain healthy for them; health experts have shared some quick five minute workout regimes especially for working women.

High knees: this basic and simple exercise can be done while on the move or while running in a place. 
Method: step 1) stand with your feet hip-width apart.
Step 2) bring your right knee near your chest and quickly bring it back on the floor. 
Step 3) now, bring your left knee near your chest and quickly bring it back on the floor. 
Continue to do the alternative knees at a fast pace.
Jumping jacks: jumping jack is a full body workout. This aerobic exercise can help you get a toned body at the comfort of your home. Jumping jack improves the cardiovascular fitness of the body.
Method: step 1) stand with your feet together and hands at your sides.
Step 2) slowly, raise your arms above your head and jump to spread your feet out wide.
Step 3) reverse the movement to the start position by landing gently with your knees bent a little and repeat.
Elbow plank: planks are a cardio workout as it uses your own weight it tones the core muscles of the body by burning the calories and working your abs, arms, back muscles.
Method: step 1) get down and facing the floor resting on your forearms and knees.

Step2) slowly, push your knees and place your weight entirely on your toes and elbows. Contract the abdominal muscles and keep your back flat.
Step3) hold on to this position for atleast 30 seconds initially and increase the duration as you progress.

Lunges: lunges are excellent for people who want to shed those unwanted extra kilos and boost their metabolism level as well. This exercise also strengthens the cores of the lower body and helps in toning of the muscles.
Method: step 1) step forward with your right leg and slowly lower the body bending the front knee at 90 degrees.
Step 2) push yourself back to the start position and repeat the lunges with the leg.
It is important to make sure that your back must be straight and the back knee should never touch the floor while dong the lunges 

Squats: it is an intensive and effective full body workout that can help in quick weight loss if done regularly. Squats help in toning and strengthen the thigh muscles. This cardio could integrate small jumps as that would burn more calories and reflect better results.

Method: step 1) stand tall with your back straight and your feet spread a width apart. Bend your knees and as you lower you upper body push your hips keeping your back erect. 
Step 2) hold yourself in the same position for 15-20 seconds and then slowly push yourself back to the start position.
 Increase the counts and speed as you repeat this exercise and time duration as you progress.
There are certain things to bear in mind before starting any intensive cardio exercises some of which are:
1) it is necessary to hydrate yourself with sufficient intake of water atleast an hour before starting any intensive workout as it would help in flushing out the toxins from the body and it also helps you to stay energized.
2) start with warm ups like; jogging in one place.
3) take short breaks after each exercise as it maintains the heart rate.
4) stretch your body as it helps in relaxing the body and makes it less prone to injury like muscle soreness.
Although, such intense cardio workout are good for weight loss and toning of the body. People dealing with overweight issues are advised to consult a doctor before starting any rigorous cardio exercises. Exercising is not just for those who want to lose weight. It must be adapted as a regular routine for an overall healthy living.


Toe Walking!

Dr. Ramakanth Reddy 92% (167 ratings)
MBBS, Diploma In Child Health
Pediatrician, Hyderabad
Toe Walking!

Toe Walking: What You Need to Know

  • Some children walk on their toes rather than their feet. This looks similar to standing on your “tiptoes.”

  • Toe walking is common among infants first learning to walk.
  • A majority of children will stop toe walking on their own without intervention.
  • Physical therapy, bracing and casting are used to treat toe walking, with surgical procedures available if these methods are unsuccessful.

What is toe walking?

Toe walking is when a child walks on the toes or ball of the foot without the heel or other parts of the foot coming in contact with the floor. Sometimes there is an underlying condition that can cause a child to walk on the toes, but other times there is not.

What are the symptoms of toe walking?

Children who persistently toe walk may develop tightness in their ankles and benefit from treatments that stretch the calf muscle.

Toe Walking Diagnosis

A physical exam is usually all that is needed to diagnose toe walking, but during the exam, the provider will also assess the child’s gait, range of motion and muscle tone.

Children should also be assessed for any neurologic abnormalities that could be contributing to the toe walking. Sometimes a child can be found to have a muscle tone imbalance or neurological finding that prompts further evaluation for an underlying cause of the toe walking. But if there are no abnormal findings, the child likely has idiopathic toe walking, meaning there is no found reason for the toe walking other than that he or she has a preference to do so.

Toe Walking Treatment

1. Physical Therapy

Several sessions to work on stretching the tight muscles may be beneficial to decrease the amount of toe walking. Children will also benefit from completing stretching exercises at home.

2. Bracing

Some children may benefit from an ankle-foot orthosis (AFO) to help encourage a flat foot with walking. The AFO is a custom brace used during the daytime to help stretch and encourage a flat foot position. If worn at night, the AFO can help stretch the tight muscles while a child is sleeping.

3. Serial Casting

Short leg casts can be applied for one- to two-week intervals to progressively work on stretching the tight muscles and improving the position of the foot and ankle. Children are able to walk in these casts. The addition of Botox injections to help stretch the tight muscles in casts may be more effective in some children.

4. Achilles Tendon or Gastrocnemius Lengthening

When physical therapy and serial casting are ineffective in correcting the tight ankle, a surgery may be necessary to achieve a flat foot position with walking. A lengthening is a surgical procedure in which the tight Achilles tendon or gastrocnemius muscle is lengthened to allow greater range of motion and function of the foot and ankle. The lengthening also allows children to better tolerate AFOs and achieve a flat foot position with walking.

1 person found this helpful

Foot tips for Diabetes mellitus

Internal Medicine Specialist, Shivpuri
Foot tips for Diabetes mellitus

1) Keep your feets clean and dry. 
2) Apply skin lotion regularly. 
3) Protect your feet from extreme heat and cold. 
4) Check your feet daily. 

5) Trim your toe nails with care. 
6) Never walk barefoot. 
7) Wear clean and dry socks. 
8) Buy shoes that fit properly.

Tip for kids

Dr. Farah Manasawala 88% (166 ratings)
Dentist, Mumbai
Tip for kids
Use a flouride free paste for children upto 6 yrs or till the time the are capable of rinsing their mouth well.

Tip for Dry Mouth

Dr. R.Vasu Devan 88% (25 ratings)
Dentist, Vellore
Tip for Dry Mouth
Taking a large no. Of medications often leads to a dry mouth. Increase your fluid intake or ask your dentist about an artifical saliva product or chew sugarless gum after a meal to keep your mouth moist.

Tip Of The Day!

Dt. Ms. Ranjit Kaur 89% (64 ratings)
Post Graduation Diploma in Dietetics and Public Health Nutrition, Fellowship In Obesity Management
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Amritsar
Tip Of The Day!

High hdl levels increase risk for heart attack, heart disease death

Researchers who studied almost 6000 adult with an average age of 63 found those with hdl cholesterol levels above 60 mg/ dl were at a 50 % higher risk for heart attack or heart disease death, compared with those whose hdl levels were 41 mg/dl to 60 mg/dl. The finding, presented at the european society of cardiology meeting, showed those with hdl levels below 41 mg/dl were also at an increased risk for heart attack or heart disease death.

Tip Of The Day

Dt. Divya Chadha 91% (157 ratings)
Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics, Diploma in Diet and Nutrition
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Delhi
Tip Of The Day

A cheeseburger has less fat than a large salad with dressing.

6 people found this helpful

Tip of the Day

Dr. Dh A Co 85% (22 ratings)
Physiotherapist, Vadodara

If you have swelling in any part of the body, always apply ice or cold water or cold pack.

1 person found this helpful

Tip of the Day

Dr. Nutri Kalp Clinic 91% (255 ratings)
Master Of Science ( Home Science) , B.Sc
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Delhi
Tip of the Day

Balance energy calories with activity calories. The energy you get from foods and beverages should equal the calories you burn in activity every day.

75 people found this helpful

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