Hammertoes are so named due to the bending of one or more of your middle toes into a shape resembling a hammer. The bend occurs at the middle joint. A similar condition called mallet toe affects the toe tip and a condition called claw toe causes all four toes to bend into the shape of a claw.
The tendon imbalance that causes toe bending may be inherited, but wearing tight-fitting shoes like high heels can exacerbate this tendency.
1) Custom orthotic inserts and insulating pads—Optimally placed metatarsal lifts are used to shift the tendon balance in the hammertoe. Moleskin pads can help prevent hammertoes from rubbing on the insides of your shoes.
2) Wear shoes with a wide toe box—Wearing shoes with a wider toe box will give your toes room to move without rubbing.
3) Splints or straps—can be used to realign bent toes and can be worn while sleeping.
4) Medication for pain—OTC meds like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be taken to help control pain and swelling.
5) Physical therapy exercises—A variety of flexing and strengthening exercises for the feet and toes can help with realignment.
The optimal time to treat toe deformities is in the early stages when they still retain some flexibility. Badly bent and problematic hammertoes may require a surgical intervention to straighten them out.
If you would like help with hammertoe treatment, see your foot doctor for an evaluation. Dr. Scott Nelson of Foot and Ankle Medical Clinic in Garland, TX (county of Dallas), is a board-certified and highly experienced podiatrist who has helped people suffering from all types of foot and ankle injuries and deformities. From bunions to diabetic foot problems, sports injuries and fungal nails, you can trust that Dr. Nelson and his staff are wholeheartedly devoted to your foot health. Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment by calling 972-414-9800.