The earlier you seek treatment for hammertoes, the better the outcome is likely to be because in the early stages the toes are more flexible. The condition called hammertoe is so named because the toes bend into hammer-like shapes often with the addition of corns on the tops of the bent sections where the toes rub against your footwear. The propensity to develop hammertoes may be inherited in the form of muscle and tendon imbalances. People who wear restrictive shoes such as high heels may exacerbate this tendency.
In the beginning stages, hammertoes are more flexible and can usually be treated by stretching them into a normal position and holding in place with a device. As a hammertoe progresses, it tends to become more bent and rigid and may require surgery to properly straighten.
The best early hammertoe treatments include:
● Toe extensions—Spread out your toes and individually stretch them with manual manipulation.
● Toe strengthening procedures—Stand on a small towel and scrunch the material back and forth with your toes. Try picking up small objects like marbles with your toes and dropping them in another location.
● Padding—Isolating corns with cushioned pads can alleviate pain by reducing friction.
● Wide toe box—Having enough room in your shoes for your toes to move around without rubbing can minimize hammertoe complications and provide room for custom orthotic inserts.
Should these methods offer only mild relief and if increasing pain and movement problems are becoming more bothersome, there are several surgical procedures that can help. The type of surgery depends upon the rigidity and severity of your hammertoes, so talk with your podiatrist for more details.
If you are experiencing bothersome hammertoes, we highly recommend that you consult our board-certified podiatrists Andrew Shapiro, DPM and Michael Barkin, DPM. With access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, we can assist you with heel pain, ankle sprains, diabetic foot care, toe deformities, nail fungus, and skin problems, among many other conditions. Our practice is conveniently located on West Merrick Road in Valley Stream to accommodate all of your foot care needs. Call (516) 825-3860 or book an appointment online today!