Arthritis can lead to mallet toes as well as poorly fitting footwear worn for long periods of time. Ignoring the problem can lead to the breakdown of tissue and infection. Again, home remedies can help relieve pressure, reduce friction and transfer weight from the sensitive areas. Symptoms of mallet toe can include the obvious mallet-shaped deformity of the toe, changes in gait and balance, redness and swelling on and around the toe, corns, calluses, infection, and ulcers in patients with diabetes who have decreased feeling in the foot. If the deformities are not treated early enough, the toe may become permanently fixed and rigid. What causes hammer toe? A hammertoe is a deformity that causes your toe to bend or curl downward instead of pointing forward. This deformity can affect any toe on your foot; however, it most often affects the second toe or third toe. Although a hammertoe may be present at birth, it usually develops over time due to wearing ill-fitting shoes or arthritis In most cases, a hammertoe is treatable. What Causes a Hammertoe to Form? A hammertoe causes you discomfort when you walk. It can also cause you pain when trying to stretch or move the affected toe or those around it. Hammertoe symptoms may be mild or severe. Mild Symptoms There are more conservative approaches to relieving pain from hammertoes. Using splints to realign the affected toe may take away your need for hammertoe surgery. Protective padding on corns and calluses can alleviate pain as well. Perhaps the most important is choosing the correct footwear by selecting shoes that have proper support and a wide toe box so they do not rub and irritate the toe at the problem area. Hammertoe can affect more than one of your toes but the condition commonly affects the second toe. This condition causes one or more of your toes to curl under, similar to curling your fingers to make a fist. One day you start to notice that your toes hurt. You don't know why. Maybe the shoes are too tight, don't fit right or the heel is too high. Or, if you participate in a high impact or running sport, your toes may be pushed and jammed to the front of your shoe, but whatever it is, you continue to ignore the pain and you keep running. No matter what you do-stretching, pulling on your toes, not wearing shoes-your toes still hurt! You may be on your way to permanently damaging your toes. You may be developing a "hammertoe"! Hammertoe, caused by genetics and improper footwear, is a foot condition that can lead to foot pain, disfigurement and other symptoms. Hammertoe occurs when the middle joint of the toe becomes deformed. When the condition first manifests, the joint remains flexible, and the patient can still move their toe. However, over time, the joint will fuse into a bent position and start to resemble the shape of a hammer resulting in the need to see a podiatrist. In the past, the solutions for hammer toes were not good. Today, there are lots of things that you can do. But, the first step is to buy some good shoes. What you wear on your feet could result in them aching. Ideal footwear is one that fits well and provides arch support, comfort and cushioning to the feet. Absence of any one of these factors in footwear could cause unbearable foot pain in the morning. The feet are placed at an awkward angle in high heeled shoes, especially stilettos which results in wrong distribution of body weight on the feet. The balls of the feet take the full body weight, which leads to intolerable foot pain on awakening in the morning.