Hammertoes Treatment in Seaford & Millsboro

Experienced Podiatrist Treatment for Hammertoes

Hammertoes are abnormal bending of toes that often leads to pain and irritation. The lesser (or “little”) toes progressively bend in a painful position over time. Southern Delaware Foot & Ankle provides hammertoes treatment in Seaford & Millsboro to patients with this painful condition. Since 2000, we’ve helped thousands of patients treat pain and swelling caused by hammertoes. We’ll determine the best form of hammertoes treatment to meet your needs, from footwear changes to surgery. Contact us today for more information.


What Do Hammertoes Look and Feel Like? 

A joint in one of your toes that “points up” or is bent instead of lying flat is called a hammertoe. Weak muscles in your foot or leg can cause the toe’s tendons to abnormally pull in a different direction. Hammertoes may cause pain, swelling in the toes, and rigid joints. A corn or callus often forms on top of the deformed joint or at the tip of the toe.

The Difference Hammertoes, Clawtoes And Mallet Toes

Many people confuse hammertoes with mallet toes and clawtoes. Technically, there are a few differences, including:

  • Hammertoes – Hammertoes involve bending in the proximal interphalangeal joint (PIPJ), or first  joint of your toe.
  • Mallet toes – Mallet toes involve a bend in the distal interphalangeal joint (DIPJ), or second joint of the toe closest to your toenail.
  • Clawtoes – Clawtoes involve a bend in the proximal interphalangeal joint (PIPJ), the first and distal interphalangeal (DIPJ), second joints of your toes. 

Types of Hammertoes

The types of hammertoes include:

  • Flexible – Affected toes can move as the condition is still in a flexible motion.
  • Semi-rigid – The toe begins to stiffen and is often painful.
  • Rigid – The tendons and soft tissues in the toe have tightened, restricting movement.

Causes of Hammertoes

There can be many reasons for hammertoes to form including: improper footwear - high heels, narrow toe box shoes,  or unsupportive shoes. When shoes don’t fit well or have minimal arch support, severe pressure is put on the toes and joints. It’s important to wear supportive shoes, especially if you have flat feet, because they must work harder to stabilize against flat arches. Neuromuscular diseases sometimes contribute to the development of a hammertoe. As mentioned before, weak muscles in your foot or leg can cause the toe’s tendons to abnormally pull causing deformity in your toes . It’s essential to pay attention to your feet and notice any symptoms of a hammertoe development. 


Hammertoes vs. Bunions

Bunions and hammertoes are not the same things. Bunions are a bump on the inside of your “big toe.” A hammertoe involves the joints of your other four toes. 


Symptoms of Hammertoes

There are multiple symptoms of hammertoes, including: 

  • Pain most commonly at the top of your bent toe
  • Rigid toe joint
  • Callus or corn development at the top of joint or tip of the toe
  • Redness or inflammation
  • Pain in the ball of your foot
  • Restricted toe joint movement
  • Swelling involving joints of the toe
  • Open wounds

Hammertoes Treatment

Hammertoes treatment often includes:

  • OTC or Custom shoe inserts to better control foot function
  • Anti-inflammatory medication or cortisone shots
  • Taping toes for muscle balance
  • Padding or offloading to minimize pressure
  • Medication
  • Surgery for hammertoes -  minimally invasive and open options exist depending on the extent of the deformity and specific patient 

We’ll perform an extensive examination of your toes to determine the best form of hammertoes treatment for your needs. 


At-Home Treatments for Hammertoes

It’s important that our experienced podiatrists examine hammertoes, but you can decrease discomfort at home in a few ways, including: 

  • Stay away from heels or unsupportive shoes
  • Accommodative shoes
  • Apply a non-medicated hammertoe pad or cushion for pressure (DO NOT USE MEDICATED PADS).
  • Apply an ice pack to decrease swelling
  • Rest your feet as much as possible

Schedule an Appointment Today 

The Southern Delaware Foot & Ankle team is proud to be your comprehensive foot and ankle specialist. We’re committed to providing our customers with the highest level patient care and innovative treatments. We understand that hammertoes can be a painful and problematic issue that progressively worsens. Our physicians are devoted to finding a tailored treatment to fit your needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

To learn more about foot and ankle conditions, visit the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons’ patient education website, FootHealthFacts.org

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