When toes become misshapen and stick up at one or more joints, it is often called a hammertoe. Technically, three different conditions can result from deformed joints: hammer, mallet, and claw toes. Hammertoes happen when the toe is bent at the middle joint. Mallet toes are bent at the end joint of the toe, and claw toes are bent at both joints. All of these conditions often are painful for individuals and affect daily activities.
Doctors categorize hammertoes based on how much the toe is still flexible—the less flexible the toe, the more pain the patient experiences.
How to Relieve Pain from Hammertoes
If you find yourself dealing with painful hammertoes, there are a few home remedies that you can try. The following suggestions may help to alleviate pain but often will not completely correct the conditions.
Wear properly fitting shoes.
Many people, especially women, tend to cramp feet into tight or oddly shaped shoes that do not have enough room for the toes to bend and flex naturally. Switch out uncomfortable shoes for footwear with roomy toe areas. It may also help to add padding in areas where pressure from shoes is irritating your feet.
Use a pumice stone to remove corns and calluses.
Corns and calluses on feet can become painful when rubbing up against footwear. You may also want to consider a gel or moleskin insert to protect your feet from rubbing while wearing shoes.
Exercise your feet.
There are many exercises you can perform to stretch out the joints in your feet, alleviating uncomfortable bent toes. Stretching out toes, bending them carefully back and forth, and other therapeutic stretching may help correct the unnatural position of hammertoes.
What if Home Remedies for Hammertoes Don’t Work?
Many cases of hammertoes are mild, and individuals do not seek medical help right away. However, if left untreated, hammertoes will progressively worsen, eventually affecting daily activities. Simple exercises and home remedies may help alleviate pain and improve conditions, but many cases may require surgery to correct the situation completely.
If you have tried to correct your hammertoes at home and home remedies have not proved helpful, it may be time to consider seeing a medical professional. A podiatrist like Best Foot Doctor specializes in the foot, ankle, and leg bones and their related conditions.
When you are preparing for a podiatrist appointment for hammertoes, there are some questions you may wish to ask your doctor. The following list may help you understand your condition and the steps needed to improve it.
- What is likely causing my foot problems?
- Are there other issues that could be contributing to them?
- What do you recommend to fix this problem?
- Are alternative forms of treatment available?
- If surgery is required, what should I expect?
Being prepared for your appointment can help to alleviate anxiety and calm your nerves. Best Foot Doctor is an experienced clinic with highly trained staff who will help you understand the options you have to correct hammertoes and prevent the condition from worsening or returning in the future. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment and get on track to healthy feet again