What are hammertoes? Hammertoes are toes that stay curled or flexed at all times. The main causes are arthritis, muscular imbalances and poor footwear choices. It’s not uncommon for hammertoes to affect more than one toe, or foot.
At first, hammertoes come across as nothing more than a minor inconvenience. You may start to notice a reduction in the mobility of your toes. After a while, these toes may not be able to straighten on their own. The buildup in pressure and swelling can cause pain, which can worsen in a short time frame. It’s essential to visit a podiatrist’s office for help if the pain or swelling becomes severe.
Which Treatments Work Best to Cure Hammertoes?
Upon visiting a podiatrist, you will receive a diagnosis on your condition. If you do have hammertoes, you may need to go for x-rays to determine the severity of them. This will give the podiatrist enough details to decide how to treat you. You will then get information on the treatment options they recommend most for your particular case. The podiatrist will also educate you on the chance of successful treatment, and what to expect in the recovery phase.
In minor cases, hammertoes treatment options include:
- Wearing shoes with padded support around the toes
- Getting cortisone injections to help relieve pain
- Taking anti-inflammatory medication to reduce pain and swelling
- Using non-prescription metatarsal pads to help with toe correction
In severe cases, hammertoes treatment options include:
- Getting custom shoe inserts from a podiatrist to influence toe correction
- Using a toe splint early into the treatment to further the toe correction
- Going for surgery to correct the toes when they won’t heal on their own
Surgical procedures are only necessary when the condition reaches a higher severity level. Your podiatrist will try minor treatment options if the toes stand a chance to correct on their own. If the toes become bent and impossible to straighten, you may need surgery to fuse the toe joint together. This will allow you to, once again, straighten your toes. The surgeon may also remove pieces from the toe bones, or cut or transplant tendons from the toes.