Treating Hammertoes

Do your toes seem to be pulled inward? Is it painful or hard to move them? Are they raised up at the first joint, where you may have painful blisters, corns or calluses? You may be suffering from hammertoes.

Hammertoes are toe deformities that make the first joint (from the base of the toe) contract. When there is a contracture of the muscle tissues affecting the toe’s small joints, the toe begins to form an upside-down V shape. The second joint of the toe may remain flat or also be affected.

Causes of Hammertoes

  • Irregular development of muscle tissue in the toes.
  • Hereditary/Genetic traits such as having a longer second toe.
  • Injury or trauma that causes the tissues to heal abnormally
  • Arthritis and diabetes may put you at higher risk of developing hammertoes and other foot deformities
  • Shoes that are too small and too tight. High heels and other shoes that crowd the toes may cause your toes to stay in a curled position, even when you take those shoes off.

Symptoms and Treatment

  • If you have hammertoes, you will notice that your toes are experiencing pain from repeated friction against shoes, feel like they are stuck in a bent “V” shape, and are painful or hard to move.
  • Early diagnosis of hammertoes is easier to treat. There are over-the-counter pads that can support the toes, padding to reduce pressure on corns, tape to immobilize and straighten the toes, pumice stones for smoothing down corns or calluses, and foot exercises you can do to make the toes stronger and able to stretch out. To relieve pain, you can buy shoes that are more spacious in the toe box. Ice packs help with any pain and swelling that may occur.
  • If the problem persists and the hammertoes become rigid, surgery may be the only option to straighten the toe permanently. This will help shoes fit better, therefore reducing pain.

If you suspect that you have hammertoes, or are suffering from pain from corns, make an appointment with us at The Podiatry Group. Our podiatrists, Dr. Mark E. Reiner, Dr. Michael A. Haughey, Dr. William G. Coates, and Dr. Erik D. Rosenlof can help you treat corns and hammertoes at our Jonesboro, AR office.