If you notice that one or more of your smaller toes are bending up at the middle joint, you may have a hammertoe. A muscle and ligament imbalance in the toe joint causes this deformity. The middle joint can bend up and stay in this position.
Hammertoes often run in families but may also be caused by wearing shoes that do not fit properly. The unattractiveness isn’t the only thing that brings patients in – they can also be painful and cause problems with walking. Blisters and calluses may develop when the elevated middle joint rubs against your shoes.
Diagnosing and Treating Hammertoes
To confirm our diagnosis of hammertoes, we will give you a thorough medical exam and take x-rays right in our office. We have several conservative treatment options based on the severity of the deformity:
- Anti-inflammatory medication can ease pain and swelling.
- For acute pain, cortisone injections will help.
- Custom-fitted orthotics that fit inside your shoe can relieve pain and prevent the hammertoe from worsening.
- In the early stages, when the toe is still fairly flexible, splinting may help.
- Switch to low-heeled shoes with wide-toe boxes and keep at least one-half-inch space between your toes and the tip of the shoe.
If the above methods don’t help, we may recommend surgery to realign the toe.
Keep Hammertoes from Getting Worse
- Wear supportive, low-heeled shoes that are wide in the toes with plenty of room before the front of the shoe.
- Try non-medicated over-the-counter hammertoe pads to relieve pressure from the top of the toe joint.
- Massage the toe and apply ice packs to ease pain and swelling.
- Try toe exercises like picking up a marble with your toes and scrunching a towel with the toes.
Step By Step Family Foot Care is here to assist you with your podiatry needs! To make an appointment with Dr. Debra Manheim, call us at (973) 917-3785 or visit our site to schedule an appointment. The staff at our Parsippany office is ready and eager to help.