When most people think about foot abnormalities, bunions often come to mind, but hammertoes are just as prevalent. This type of deformity emerges gradually, so you may not even notice it until it’s too late. Today Dr. Joel Segalman, Dr. Stephen Lazaroff, and Dr. Brittany Ciaramello at Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLC in New Haven County and Fairfield County are sharing what you need to know when dealing with a hammertoe.
A hammertoe affects the middle joint of a toe (usually the smaller ones), causing the toe to bend downward, often resembling a claw.
There are two types of hammertoes – flexible and rigid. If you have a flexible hammertoe, you will still be able to straighten the toe. If you can’t straighten the affected toe, however, you’re probably dealing with a rigid hammertoe. A flexible hammertoe isn’t considered to be as serious, but it’s still important to take care of it to make sure that it doesn’t worsen.
While there is no cure for a hammertoe, there are some easy measures you can try to stop it from advancing.
Examine the shoes you are wearing to make sure that they don’t fit too snugly. When you put on your shoes, do your toes bunch up? If they do, this could be worsening your hammertoe. So be sure to wear shoes that have an ample toe box to allow your toes to move freely and talk to your podiatrist about custom-fitting orthotics.
When you experience stiffness or pain, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever that can alleviate both conditions simultaneously. You can also apply an ice pack over the area for several minutes.
You can try using a non-medicated protective pad similar to those used to cover a callus or bunion. To stop callus from forming, use a protective pad over the affected toe joint before putting on your footwear.
There are also exercises you can perform to strengthen the muscles in your toe.
Left untreated, a hammertoe may eventually require surgery. So if you are dealing with significant or frequent pain, or if your hammertoe appears to be rigid – don’t wait - contact the offices of Dr. Joel Segalman, Dr. Stephen Lazaroff, and Dr. Brittany Ciaramello, at Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLC in New Haven County and Fairfield County to schedule an appointment.