Top 5 Effective Ways to Treat Hammertoe

If you have an abnormal bend in one of your toes, chances are likely that you have a condition known as hammertoe. This condition usually affects one of the three middle toes. In the beginning, your affected toe may still have some flexibility. If left untreated, the condition in your toe can become permanent. The condition can also cause your toe to rub against your shoe, which can lead to painful corns and calluses.

Hammertoe occurs when one of the toe muscles weakens and puts pressure on the joint, forcing the toe to bend. Women are more likely to get hammertoe, as are older individuals and people with diabetes or arthritis. Fortunately, there are things you can do about the condition. Kerry Berg, DPM, from Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates, offers this guide of the five most effective treatments for hammertoe.

1. Choose the right footwear

Footwear makes a big difference when it comes to hammertoe. Women who regularly wear high heels are more likely to develop hammertoe because of the shape of many popular shoes. Similarly, high heels and other shoes that have pointed toes can make the condition more painful.

Good, supportive footwear is key if you have hammertoe. The best type of shoes are those that have adequate toe room, low heels, and adjustable laces or straps. To find the right shoes, consider these shopping tips:

2. Wear inserts or pads inside your shoes

The condition can cause pain and pressure when the affected toe presses against the inside of your shoes. Dr. Berg recommends wearing custom inserts or pads inside your shoes to relieve pressure on the toe.

3. Perform toe exercises

Most people don’t think about their toes when they’re doing a workout unless they experience pain. But your toes can benefit from specially targeted exercises when you have hammertoe. These exercises are aimed at stretching out the muscles in your toes. Examples of exercises you might try include picking up marbles with your toes or bunching up a towel using only your toes.

4. Reduce inflammation in your toes

Inflammation causes swelling and pain. What you want to do is quiet the nerves in your toes so they cause you less pain. The best way to do this is to reduce inflammation.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as naproxen or ibuprofen, are available over the counter and can help lessen inflammation and reduce pain. You can also try applying ice packs to your toes to reduce swelling. Dr. Berg may also prescribe stronger anti-inflammatory medications or give you cortisone shots.

5. When all else fails, surgery can fix hammertoe

Many people find that the condition resolves itself with the above methods. If these methods don’t give you relief, though, surgery can fix the problem. If you have surgery, you should be able to go home the same day. And, if you have other foot problems, such as bunions or heel spurs, they can often be taken care of during the same surgery.

If you have signs of hammertoe, you can get help now. To learn more about treating this condition, book an appointment online or over the phone with Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates today.

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