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How to Prevent & Treat Mallet Toes | Foot Care

Learn how to prevent and treat mallet toes with this Howcast video about foot care.


A mallet toe is when the joint at the tip of the toe is bent in a downwards position. There are two ways to deal with mallet toes--conservatively and surgically.

Conservative treatment revolves around decreasing the inflammation that can occur as a result of the deformity. Because the toe is bent at the tip of the toe, you often get friction on the top and at the tip of the toe. There are several pads that you can use to cushion the area. My favorite are silicone toe caps, which is a piece of silicone that slides directly over the toe. That works nicely because it protects not only the tip of the toe but the actual top of the toe. Buttress pads are also a nice way of treating a mallet toe deformity. A buttress pad slides underneath the toes.

Adequate shoe gear is critical in the treatment of mallet toe deformities. Deep toe box with a cushioned innersole works very well.

Should you continue to develop pain as a result of your mallet toe, surgical options are available. When mallet toes typically start, they are flexible in nature. Surgical release of one of the tendons is possible. As the deformity develops to become more rigid, which will require an arthroplasty procedure, in which a small portion of bone is removed from the joint and the toe is held straight with a pin.

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