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What To Do About Your Hammertoe

While tight, cramped shoes and those towering high heels may not immediately show you the damage to your feet, you will notice changes in the structure and function of your feet. Along with bunions, a joint deformity, hammertoes are another deformity that causes the toes to bend downward at the middle joint. If the problem isn’t corrected, this uncomfortable deformity can become severe. Here’s how to determine whether you may have hammertoes and what you can do about it now to prevent it from getting worse.

Wear Appropriate Footwear

It would help if you made sure that any shoes you wear correctly fit your feet. While this might sound silly, many people are guilty of wearing shoes that are too narrow and put too much pressure on the toes. Look for shoes with a wide toe box that allows your feet enough room to wiggle freely. If your toes are bunched in any of the shoes you have (particularly high heels or shoes with pointed toes), you will want to avoid these types of shoes whenever possible.

Consider Shoe Inserts

While it’s important to find shoes that cushion and support your foot structure, sometimes people with hammertoes, bunions, and other foot problems that can cause pain can benefit from prescription shoe inserts (also known as orthotics). Fabricating custom orthotics to fit the shape of your feet and addressing the issues you’re having (aka alleviating pressure on the toes when standing or walking).

Apply Protective Padding

A hammertoe causes the toe to bend down like a claw, which means that the toe’s joint is sticking out. As you may already know, this causes shoes to rub against the joint, causing a callus to develop. One way to prevent this from happening is to apply a non-medicated pad over the toe joint before putting on shoes.

Practice Pain Management

If your hammertoe starts to ache or hurt, you may want to apply ice to the area throughout the day to alleviate pain and swelling. You can also consider using Voltaren or Biofreeze. If the pain is intense or persistent, you may want to consider taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, which can help with pain and swelling; however, if your symptoms are severe, you must see a podiatrist about your hammertoe.

Do I need surgery for a hammertoe?

If the hammertoe is flexible (meaning that you can straighten the toe out), you won’t need surgery. However, if the hammertoe becomes rigid and causes pain and mobility problems, surgery is recommended.

If you are dealing with hammertoes or other foot problems, you must have a chiropodist or podiatrist that you can turn to for regular and immediate care.

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