There are two main types of hammertoes
. Hammertoes can be flexible, which
means that you can still move the toe a bit - these are easier to treat with stretching, wider shoes and in some cases, toe splints. Rigid hammertoes occur when the foot condition has persisted for
so long without treatment that the tendons become too rigid to be stretched back to normal. Rigid hammertoes are more common in people with arthritis. This foot condition usually needs to be treated
This condition is greatly influenced by the footwear we choose. Ladies who wear high heels are a perfect example. High heels force the toes to overlap and bend at the middle joint of the toe,
resulting in hammertoe. But high heels are not the only culprits. Anyone who wears shoes that are too tight is increasing their risk of developing hammertoe. This progressive condition, which will
only get better with treatment, can cause pain as the toes are forced to bend unnaturally.
The symptoms of a hammer toe include the following. Pain at the top of the bent toe upon pressure from footwear. Formation of corns on the top of the joint. Redness and swelling at the joint
contracture. Restricted or painful motion of the toe joint. Pain in the ball of the foot at the base of the affected toe.
The earlier a hammertoe is diagnosed, the better the prognosis and treatment options. Your doctor will be able to diagnose your hammertoe with a simple examination of the foot and your footwear. He
or she may take an x-ray to check the severity of the condition. You may also be asked about your symptoms, your normal daily hammertoe
activities, and your medical and family history.
Non Surgical Treatment
Prescription strength medicines to decrease pain and inflammation. Physical Therapy. To strengthen poorly functioning muscles and stretch tight muscles that may be exacerbating the toes. Special
ultrasound techniques may reduce inflammation. Custom Foot Orthotics. An orthotic with an exact mold of your foot to better align and support the foot to ease current discomfort and prevent future
progression. Toe Splints or Pads. Specific pads may prevent pressure and physical irritation in shoes. Toe splints and toe spacers physically realign the toes and can lessen pain and halt or stall
hammer toe progression. Cortisone injections are strong anti-inflammatory agents to decrease pain, and swelling directly at the toe region. Injections only treat the symptoms, and in some cases used
in caution (and sparingly) they can weaken supporting ligaments of the toe(s).
If you are unable to flex your toe, surgery is the only option to restore movement. Surgery is used to reposition the toe, remove deformed or injured bone, and realign your tendons. Surgery is
normally done on an outpatient basis, so you can return home on the day of your surgery.