Our feet are so incredibly important for our everyday routine, from walking upstairs to your morning run to simply standing on your feet all day for work. Our feet do so much for us; unfortunately, we don’t often care for them properly until problems set in. One of the most common foot deformities that we see at our practice are hammertoes. This deformity affects one or both joints in the smaller toes, which causes them to bend down like a claw. If you notice that your smaller toes are starting to curl downward, this is an early sign of hammertoes. Should you be concerned?
Just like bunions, hammertoes are also progressive. This means that this problem will continue to get worse, especially if you don’t start adopting proper foot care. When a hammertoe is still flexible this is the perfect time to revamp your daily care routine to ensure that the hammertoe doesn’t get worse. This entails:
• Wearing properly fitted shoes with a wide toe box that won’t bunch up or put pressure on the toes
• Avoiding shoes that are narrow or too tight (and avoid high heels)
• Applying protective padding or a corn pad on the deformed joint to prevent the joint from rubbing against your shoes, which can lead to a callus
• Stretching and flexing the toes to help keep them limber and mobile
• Talking to us about whether custom shoe inserts (orthotics) could also provide additional support for the feet
How Our Team Can Help
While caring for your feet doesn’t have to be challenging, we also know that at some point hammertoes may require more aggressive care from a qualified professional. This is where Dr. Kalish and his team step in. If you’ve never officially been diagnosed with a hammertoe but you notice that your smaller toes curl downward, then it’s definitely worth coming into our practice for an evaluation. You should also come to us if you notice changes in the structure of the foot and you’re also dealing with persistent pain.
While surgery can often be avoided with the proper at-home care, some patients may still require surgery to correct their hammertoe at some point. If the deformity progresses into a rigid hammertoe (where you’re unable to straighten the tooth), then surgery is the only way to repair the problem. Of course, hammertoe surgery is only recommended if people are dealing with a severe hammertoe that impacts their daily routine and everyday activities.