The deformity called hammertoe causes one or more of your inner toes to become bent at the joint, resembling the shape of a hammer. They can become rigid and painful if left untreated, and corns can develop on top of the toes in response to rubbing against the inside of your footwear.
While this condition has a hereditary tendency, it can be worsened by wearing shoes that are too tight or that otherwise do not fit properly. High arches can contribute to the pressure on the toes, and inflammatory joint diseases such as arthritis can also exacerbate these deformities.
Some conservative treatments that can help relieve the pain and discomfort of hammertoes include:
- Wide toe box and lower heels—Shoes with a wide toe area and a lowered heel cup can take some of the pressure off of the toes.
- Use pads on corns and calluses—Insulating with pads will eliminate the source of friction and help prevent corns and calluses from worsening.
- Realignment—Specially designed splints or straps are employed to help straighten out the toes. This works best in the initial stages, when the toe still has some flexibility.
- Steroid injections—Can help reduce inflammation.
- Orthotic inserts—The imbalance that occurs between the tendon and the muscle of the toe can be controlled with custom made inserts.
If your hammertoes have become extremely rigid and painful, a surgical procedure by your foot doctor may be required to provide relief. The podiatrists at Foot Health Podiatry, PLLC, in New York City, NY, are experts in providing the best care for any problems you may be experiencing with your feet and ankles. Sorelis Jimenez, DPM, John W. Fletcher, DPM, and Kamilla Danilova, DPM and the rest of the staff at Foot Health Podiatry, PLLC, are happy to help with any questions or concerns you may have. Check out our Ask The Doctor page for answers to frequently asked questions, and never hesitate to give us a call to talk or make an appointment at 212-845-9991.