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What to Do About Hammertoes

Many patients with hammertoes mistakenly think that if they aren’t experiencing any uncomfortable symptoms there is no point coming in to us at Paul Klein, DPM, FACFAS to have it treated. This is an unfortunate fallacy. Hammertoe is a progressive deformity of the toe (often caused by a muscle/tendon imbalance) that will only get worse if not treated. At the first telltale sign of a toe that seems to be bending downward at one or both of its joints, patients should make an appointment to come in and have it evaluated by our podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein.

How Bad is It?

As hammertoe progresses, patients may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Contracture of the toe that becomes more and more rigid and difficult to straighten out
  • Redness and inflammation of the toe
  • A burning sensation in the toe
  • Pain from wearing shoes caused by the toe rubbing and being pressed up against the front of the shoe
  • Corns and calluses that form as the result of shoe irritation
  • Open sores on the affected toe

The podiatrist will examine the toe and check your range of motion. In most cases, an x-ray will be ordered to determine the full extent of the deformity and also to check against for future monitoring.

Treatment Options

In situations where a toe has become completely rigid in the bent state, the only option to correct the problem may be surgery. In the earlier stages of the condition, however, the foot doctor has several options, including:

  • Medications to relieve pain and inflammation, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroid injections.
  • Changes in footwear to styles with roomier toe boxes and low heels to avoid pressure on the toe.
  • A custom orthotic device to wear in your shoe to help control the muscle/tendon imbalance.
  • Strapping or splinting the affected toe to realign it.

While these won’t eliminate the hammertoe, they can greatly slow the progression and increase your comfort and mobility. Don’t delay—if you think you have a hammertoe forming, contact our Wayne office for an appointment as soon as possible by calling: (973) 595-1555.