Mallet toe is a deformity involving the lesser toes. In a mallet toe, the joint at the very tip of the digit flexes downwards towards the floor.
The second toe is commonly affected because this toe is often the longest, but any of the lesser toes may be involved. The most frequent cause of mallet toe is tight fitting shoes that compress the toes into a narrow toe box. When the toes are repetitively held in this position, the tendons and ligaments eventually become contracted which makes the deformity permanent.
The causes of mallet toe include:
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- Tight fitting shoes
- Injury to the toe
- Imbalance of the muscles controlling the toes