Hammertoes are thought to be caused by an imbalance between the tiny tendons that normally hold the toe in the proper position. Since toe deformities are rare in cultures that shun shoe wearing, the connection between tight-fitting footwear and hammertoes cannot be denied. Avoiding high-heeled shoes that push your toes together can help avoid hammertoe formation and prevent many other potential foot and ankle problems.

4 early, conservative treatments for hammertoes include the following:

1) Wear the right shoes—Shoes with a wide toe box and deeper heel cup will help to relieve the pressure that is contributing to toe bending.

2) Use orthotic insertsYour foot doctor places metatarsal supports under the base of the toes to help control the imbalance between the toe muscle and tendon. Orthotics also can help with arch and heel problems while correcting spinal alignment issues.

3) Strength and flexibility exercises—Physical therapy exercises for the feet and toes are a great way to increase toe strength and flexibility and help prevent toe deformities from getting worse. Your foot doctor can help you develop a routine.

4) Insulating Moleskine pads—Hammertoes can develop corns on the bend that can be extremely painful from the rubbing on your footwear. Corn pads are used to help insulate the toes from rubbing.

Hammertoes that have been developing for a while and that have become stiff and painful will probably require surgery to provide relief.

If you are experiencing complications with hammertoes, make an appointment with your podiatrist for the proper care. Dr. Scott Nelson of Foot and Ankle Medical Clinic in Garland, TX (county of Dallas), is a board-certified and highly experienced podiatrist who has helped people suffering from all types of foot and ankle injuries and deformities. From bunions, to diabetic foot problems, sports injuries and fungal nails, you can trust that Dr. Nelson and his staff are wholeheartedly devoted to your foot health. Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment by calling 972-414-9800.

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