There are many treatment options for hammertoes. First, a hammertoe is a flexible or rigid contraction of a toe, and can affect one or more of the toes, usually affecting the second, third, fourth, or fifth toe. In this condition, the toe is usually bent downward at the middle joint, and upward where the toe meets the foot, resembling a hammer. A lifelong muscle imbalance leads to a bending or “buckling” of the toe joints, which is progressive over the years. These buckled or contracted positions create any number of problems within and on top of the toe deformity. It is important to seek treatment for hammertoes early. As they advance and become more rigid, the only option for correction may be surgery.
Hammertoes can cause complications such as painful corns at the point where they come into contact with shoes or at the ends of the toes, since you’re no longer walking on the fat pad of the toe, but on the tip. Hammertoes can also lead to deformities of the nail, due to constant and excessive pressure on the nails.
Dr. Mark Green has a variety of ways to treat hammertoes including:
- surgical correction,
- shoes designed with extra room for the toes,
- and over-the-counter products like corn pads, straps, and cushions.