While the hammertoe deformity is thought to be largely inherited, there are a number of risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing them. Wearing high-heeled or tight fitting shoes that force your toes into the front of the shoe is a major contributor, and people who have arch problems, arthritis, and toe injuries are also more susceptible.
4 conservative treatments that can help relieve the pain and discomfort related to hammertoes include the following:
- Wear shoes with a wide toe box and lower heels—Use footwear with a wide toe box and low heel cup to decrease pressure on the toes.
- Steroid treatments—These can help reduce inflammation and pain but may have side effects.
- Custom orthotic shoe inserts—Hammertoes are caused by an imbalance that occurs between the tendon and the toe muscle. Orthotic inserts can help alleviate this imbalance and straighten the toe, especially when they are still flexible.
- Use pads on the corns that often develop on hammertoes—Insulating the tops of corns with pads will help prevent rubbing and decrease pain and swelling.
For hammertoes that are badly bent and that have become extremely rigid and painful, your foot surgeon will probably need to operate to straighten them out.
If you would like help with hammertoe treatment, your foot doctor is the one to see. At Your Next Step, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience, to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including sports injuries, joint pain, toe deformities, nail fungus, chronic tendon pain, and skin problems. Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen provide high-quality foot and ankle care to patients in the greater Philadelphia area at our offices conveniently located in Ardmore, Paoli, and Downingtown. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.