Hammertoes: Do I Need to See a Podiatrist?

Hammertoes can be painful and interfere with your normal daily activities. Seeking treatment for hammertoes and similar mallet toes is the first step towards relief and improvement in your condition. If you believe you have hammertoes, you may be concerned about how to identify it and when you should see a medical specialist to seek treatment for your hammertoes. Below you will find a list of at-home remedies that may help alleviate your discomfort. Included are common signs and symptoms that may be keys to understanding when to seek treatment.

Common At-Home Treatments for Hammertoes

The following at-home remedies may be helpful in treating hammertoe without seeing a podiatrist. However, if these treatments do not sufficiently improve the condition, you should make an appointment with your podiatrist. If you are in the NYC area looking for a  podiatrist for untreated hammertoe or hammertoe that does not respond to at-home treatment, Best Foot Doctor is ready to help. Our staff will help you feel at home in our clinic and work with you to implement a treatment plan to reverse the effects of hammertoe.

Five at-home treatments of hammertoe are:

  1. Wear appropriate footwear, including avoiding high heels (over two inches in height) and shoes with tight toe boxes, which cramp toes into unnatural positions.
  2. Try orthopedic inserts in your shoes to relieve the stress caused by footwear. Non-medicated, over-the-counter hammertoe pads are specially formed to alleviate pain and pressure on the area and sometimes have gel to help ease the pain.
  3. Over-the-counter pain medication can help with pain management and reduce inflammation in stressed joints.
  4. Toe splints can help align the foot in the early stages of hammertoe.
  5. Foot exercises that increase flexibility may help reduce the ill effects of hammertoe. These include picking up small objects (like marbles) with your toes or scrunching up a towel with your feet.

What To Do If At-Home Remedies Don’t Help

If hammertoes are severe and standard treatment options do not help, you should see a podiatrist as soon as possible. A foot doctor will be able to diagnose your condition accurately and assess it for the next steps. If conservative options are not working, you may be a candidate for surgery to improve your condition. Your podiatrist will explain the risks and benefits of surgery based on your unique situation.

You can confidently go into your podiatrist appointment by being prepared to discuss the following three topics.

  1. Be prepared to describe your symptoms to your podiatrist. They will also want to know when your symptoms started and the progression (worsening or improving). It would help if you also told your foot doctor about any at-home remedies that you have tried to treat your hammertoes.
  2. Plan to show the podiatrist where the pain is located in your feet.
  3. If surgery is recommended for your condition, you should ask your doctor what to expect from the surgery. Some surgeries require extensive after-surgery care and caution, while others have very little recovery time.

Read more in our blog: Hammertoe Surgery: Procedure, Recovery, and More

The Best Foot Doctor offices in Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn are open and ready to help you find relief from hammertoe. Please call us today to schedule an appointment.

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