The hammertoe deformity is so named because it causes one or more of your middle toes to bend at the middle joint resembling a hammer. When a toe bends at the tip it is called a mallet toe. When all four small toes bend together you have a condition called claw foot. When your toes bend in an abnormal manner they often rub against the inside of your footwear or against each other, resulting in the development of skin conditions such as corns, calluses, and blisters.
For toes that are in the earlier stages of the condition when they are not too badly bent and are still flexible, you can help to straighten them out using the following methods:
- Wear shoes with a wide toe box and lower heel cup—Choose wider shoes that have extra room in the toe box for your toes to move and for the proper placement of orthotic inserts.
- Use padding and custom orthotic inserts—Insulate hot spots with moleskin and use orthotic metatarsal lifts to redirect tendon pressure on bent toes. For more severely bent toes specially made orthotic splints can be attached to the toes and used while sleeping to help straighten them out.
- Pain-relieving medications—Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and acetaminophen may be taken in moderation for pain relief and to reduce inflammation.
- Strength and flexibility physical therapy exercises—A variety of simple exercises including toe scrunches, marble pick up exercises, and rubber band toe flex routines are used to increase the strength and flexibility of the muscles and tendons that contribute to adverse toe bending.
If you are experiencing pain and discomfort from hammertoe deformities, see your trusted foot doctor for the proper diagnosis and treatment. At Podiatry Center of New Jersey, Dr. Russell Samofal, Dr. Dolan Chowdhury, Dr. Jaclyn Ramirez, and Dr. Chris A. Obiarinze treat a variety of conditions such as sports injuries, diabetic foot problems, pediatric foot conditions, toe deformities, arthritis, nail fungus, arch problems and heel pain. Equipped with advanced technologies and a dedicated staff, Podiatry Center of New Jersey provides individualized high quality care for patients all across Morris, Passaic, Bergen and Essex counties. For all your foot and ankle problems, contact our Wayne office at (973) 925-4111 for an appointment.