Let’s start with simple lifestyle changes for protecting hammertoes from getting worse.
While bunions often get the most recognition when it comes to foot deformities, it’s also just as important to recognize that the joints of the smaller toes can also become deformed. If you notice that your smaller toes are curled downwards, you could be dealing with a foot deformity known as a hammertoe. From the office of our Danbury, CT, podiatrists Dr. Joseph Treadwell, Dr. Christian Davis, and Dr. Rihamary Jimenez, here’s how to get a hammertoe under control.
I think I have hammertoes now what?
If you can force your toe straight, then the good news is that you have a flexible hammertoe. At this point, it’s incredibly important that you practice good foot care to prevent the hammertoe from getting worse. Some ways to protect your hammertoes from getting worse include,
Wearing appropriate footwear: Wearing shoes that crowd and bunch up your toes is going to be a big no-no. We are particularly shaking our fists at high heels and shoes with pointed toes. If you want to prevent hammertoes from getting worse, it’s important that you only wear shoes with wide toe boxes that give toes ample room.
Keep feet active: It might sound strange but just as you exercise the rest of the joints, muscles, and ligaments in your body to keep them limber and strong, you should also do the same for your toes. Daily exercises that involve extending and curling the toes can help to strengthen the muscles to prevent the joint from getting worse.
Use a non-medicated pad: A bent joint can make it more likely for a corn or callus to form due to friction with shoes. If you find that even the best-fitted shoes still rub against the deformed toe joints, you can apply a non-medicated pad to the area to prevent pressure and irritation.
Apply ice: Ice is a great way to reduce both pain and swelling. If you find toe pain or inflammation flaring up, you may just want to apply a towel-wrapped ice pack to the foot for up to 15 minutes to ease symptoms.
Is surgery necessary for a hammertoe?
The goal is to avoid surgery whenever possible, and the good news is that most people won’t require surgery to correct a hammertoe if caught and treated properly. Your Danbury, CT, podiatrist may only recommend surgery for a hammertoe if,
- You aren’t experiencing relief from your symptoms with nonsurgical treatment options
- Your hammertoe causes severe pain and swelling
- You have trouble with your daily routine or with certain activities due to your hammertoe
- Your hammertoe is affecting your quality of life
Foot & Ankle Specialists of Connecticut has offices in Plainville, Danbury, and New Milford, CT, and is proud to serve the New Britain, Bristol, Southington, Farmington, New Fairfield, and Ridgefield, CT, areas. If you are dealing with hammertoes and want to see a podiatrist for treatment, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment by calling (203) 748-2220, (860) 355-3139, or (860) 747-2200.