Toe deformities like hammertoes and mallet toes have an abnormal downward bend that is often subtle and symptomless in the beginning stages. This is why it does not even occur to many folks to treat hammertoes properly until severe bending, pain, and other complications start to occur.
If caught before this severe stage, you can stop the bending with some non-invasive therapies. See your foot doctor when you notice any toe bending starting so that you may begin treatment and hopefully avoid hammertoe surgery later.
Some simple ways to treat hammertoes when your toes are still flexible and not too badly bent include the following:
- Wear optimally sized and fitted shoes with a wider toe box—Have your feet measured each time you buy new shoes. Get shoes that have extra room in the toe box for your toes to move without rubbing. A wider toe box will decrease rubbing and prevent the formation of blisters and corns on the hammertoes.
- Use isolating pads, supports, and orthotic inserts—Orthotic inserts such as metatarsal lifts can be inserted under the base of bending toes to allow the tendons to release and straighten the toe. Placing pads over corns to prevent rubbing can help them heal properly. Using toe braces and splints can pull bent toes back into alignment while you are resting.
- Pain medication—Ibuprofen or acetaminophen may be taken according to label directions for pain and swelling reduction.
- Strength and flexibility exercises for the toes—Stand on a towel and slowly scrunch your toes back and forth for five minutes. Another great exercise is to pick up small objects with your toes and drop them in a cup.
If you are experiencing pain and discomfort from hammertoes, see your podiatrist for the most comprehensive care. Call Syracuse Podiatry, located in East Syracuse, New York. Dr. Ryan L. D’Amico, 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.