Treatment Options For Hammertoe

Hammertoe is a painful condition where the toe becomes bent at the joint and then is stuck in that position so that you are unable to properly straighten the toe out. Much of the pain affects the bent toe, although there can be further pain throughout the foot due to the tightened ligaments. Many sufferers also experience heel or arch pain because the hammertoe causes them to change their walking gait. Many hammertoe sufferers depend on painkillers to deal with their condition, but there are treatment options that are a better choice than longterm pain medication management.

Orthotic Inserts

Sometimes no treatment is necessary, you just need the right shoe. An orthotic insert that is custom made for your foot can help alleviate the rubbing and pressure that is caused by hammertoe. For mild cases where there is minimal damage to the toe and surrounding tissue, the use of these orthotics is often enough to relieve most of the pain and discomfort without any need for medication.

Toe Splinting

Hammertoes can sometimes be straightened if the condition is caught early. Your podiatrist will splint and wrap the toe in the correct, relaxed position. Over time, the ligament may loosen sufficiently so that the hammer toe remains flattened on its own. There can be some initial discomfort with this method, but it can usually be treated with over-the-counter pain reducers.

Physical Therapy

Sometimes physical therapy can help loosen the ligament and help you regain the range of motion in the toe. A physical therapist or your podiatrist will perform range of motion exercises with the toe and foot, as well as provide you with instructions on exercises to regularly at home. They may also use massage to help loosen the ligaments and straighten the toe. Physical therapy works as well as you allow it -- don't miss sessions and do the home exercises to experience the greatest recovery.

Injection Treatments

If pain and inflammation is exceptionally bad, then cortisone injection treatments may be necessary. Your podiatrists will inject cortisone into the inflamed toe, which will bring down the swelling sufficiently so that other treatments can be pursued, such as physical therapy. The cortisone also reduces the pain from inflammation so that you won't need to take pain killers.


In severe cases, surgery may be the best option. Surgery techniques vary for hammertoe, but a common method is to shave down the toe joint so that the toe can once again move freely.

Contact a foot doctor for more help.

419 Words

About Me

Foot Care Is Really a Feat! Your feet are more complex than you might realize. You have the tarsal bones in your ankle, the metatarsals that form the top of your foot, and the phalanges that form your toes. Then, there is a complex set of ligaments and tendons that form the joints and attach muscles to the bones of your feet and ankles. With all of these moving parts, it's no wonder people often develop foot pain. Luckily, podiatrists know how to manage that pain. They can identify its source and recommend physical therapy, therapeutic shoes, or even surgery to make you comfortable again. As you keep reading on this website, you'll learn more about their work.