If you’re diagnosed with hammertoe, you might be alarmed at the mere name of the condition. Yet, there’s a reason it’s called a “hammer” toe: It occurs when one or both joints of any of your toes are bent abnormally.
You may not have actually realized there was a problem, save for the occasional soreness you felt when wearing shoes. Other symptoms that could develop, though, include inflammation, redness, irritation, and burning. Over time, the affected toe or toes bend. Severe cases could even develop open wounds.
The key to preventing hammertoe from worsening is to address it as soon as possible. This means visiting a foot specialist at the onset of your discomfort. What you might think is nothing could very well be something that could become more serious later.
Your options, at first, do include non-surgical treatments:
- Padding: A foot care professional can prescribe specially designed pads to cover corns or calluses and protect these areas of the feet from more irritation.
- Shoes: Your foot specialist will likely tell you to avoid wearing pointy shoes or high heels. The goal is to eliminate pressure in the toe box, so you’ll need to switch to footwear that allows this area to breathe.
- Medication: If the pain is especially bad, your doctor might suggest corticosteroid injections to help diminish the inflammation and soreness. In less severe cases, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs might be an option.
If the condition is caught too late, or if these non-surgical treatment methods don’t work, your foot specialist might suggest surgery as a last resort. This is an outpatient procedure that may involve removing the crooked joint or shortening the offending bone and adding a pin or wire to assist with the healing process.
Preventing hammertoes is as easy as wearing practical footwear. Avoid anything that squeezes your toes up against the front of the shoe. Allow for at least half an inch of space in that area, and look for shoes that are wider in the heel. If you suspect you’re suffering from hammertoes, visit a foot specialist as soon as possible to receive the proper care.
Foot & Ankle Specialists, the leading podiatric services team in the Cincinnati, OH, area, can help you cope with the pain of hammertoes. They also offer treatment for other types of foot, ankle, and heel pain, as well as bunions and sprains. Visit the website or call (513) 769-4408 to schedule an appointment.