A hammertoe is a deformity that affects the middle toes causing one or more of them to bend abnormally. The condition is caused by an imbalance in the tendons that may be inherited, but the tendency to develop hammertoes can be increased by wearing tight-fitting shoes like high heels. When the toe or toes bend, they can rub against the inside of your shoes causing painful blisters and corns to develop. A foot injury can also exacerbate the bending, and people who have untreated arch problems are also more susceptible to getting hammertoes
Conservative treatments for hammertoes include the following:
- Wear the correct shoes—Wearing shoes with a low heel cup and wide toe box will take pressure off the bent toes and prevent rubbing, blisters, and corn development.
- Steroids and other medications—Steroids and anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and Tylenol will reduce pain and swelling.
- Physical therapy—Dexterity exercises such as picking up small stones or marbles with your toes can help increase strength and flexibility.
- Custom orthotic inserts—These specially fabricated shoe inserts fit your precise foot shape and can be used to help control the imbalance between the muscle and tendon that causes the hammertoe.
- Moleskin pads—Corns and calluses that often appear on the top or side of a hammertoe can be cushioned to eliminate the source of rubbing.
If your hammertoes are very rigid or painful, surgery involving tendon grafts and joint resection may be necessary to straighten them out, so be sure to see your podiatrist for the proper diagnosis and treatment. Call Syracuse Podiatry located in East Syracuse, New York. Dr. Ryan L. D’Amico, Dr. Kathleen Pyatak-Hugar, and Dr. Donal M. Erickson and their staff will help you diagnose and treat your foot or ankle condition. Call 315-446-3668 or make an appointment online today.