A hammertoe occurs from a muscle and ligament imbalance around the toe joint that causes the middle toe joint to bend and become stuck in this position. This condition is often aggravated by tight-fitting shoes that put pressure on the hammertoe.
The most common complaint with hammertoes is rubbing and irritation on the top of the bent toe.
There are several treatment options that vary according to how severe the hammertoe:
- Wear good-fitting shoes; this does not necessarily mean expensive shoes.
- Padding any prominent areas around the bony point of the toe may help to relieve pain.
- Drugs that reduce inflammation can ease pain and swelling. Sometimes, a doctor will use cortisone injections to relieve acute pain.
- An orthotics specialist or qualified medical provider such as a podiatrist may also custom-make an insert to wear inside your shoe. This can reduce pain and keep the hammertoe from getting worse.
- Over-the-counter metatarsal pads that are properly placed may help.
- The doctor may recommend foot exercises to help restore muscle balance. Splinting the toe may help in the very early stages.
When the hammertoes are not resolved with the above methods, surgery may be needed.