The condition known as the hammertoe deformity is so named due to the bending that happens to one or more of your middle toe joints that causes the toes to take on the shape of a hammer. When the bend occurs at the end to joint, the result is a mallet toe.
Hammertoes are largely caused by a genetic imbalance between the tiny tendons and small muscles that normally hold the toe in the proper position but it can be exacerbated by tightly fitting footwear like high-heeled shoes.
Since hammertoes have a tendency to worsen over time, see your foot doctor when you first notice the problem for the easiest and least painful treatment.
5 of the more conservative treatments for hammertoes include the following:
- The right shoes—Properly fitted shoes with a wide toe box will eliminate the pressure that is contributing to the bending of the toes and will also provide room for pads and inserts.
- Custom orthotic inserts—Your foot doctor can create custom shoe inserts to help control the imbalance between the toe muscle and tendon that is causing the toe to bend in the shape of a hammer.
- Pain relief medications—Anti-inflammatory medications including Tylenol and ibuprofen can be taken in moderation to reduce pain and swelling.
- Physical therapy exercises— A great way to increase the strength and flexibility of your toes is with a variety of physical therapy exercises. Consult with your foot doctor for a comprehensive routine.
- Insulating pads—Pads for corns can be placed on the top of hammertoes to help insulate the toes from rubbing on the inside of your shoes.
Hammertoes that are more advanced and that have become rigid and painful will probably require surgery to straighten them out.
If you are experiencing complications with hammertoes, enlisting the services of a skilled podiatrist will help you find the best solution. Schedule an appointment with the Foot First Podiatry Center in New Albany, IN. Our highly qualified podiatrist Dr. Zahid Ladha, D.P.M. is dedicated to providing the best diagnostic care and medical treatment for you and your feet. Contact us at (812) 945-9221 and schedule an appointment today!