Foot deformities often cause problems in everyday life, which is why they need proper treatment. If you happen to have a hammertoe, you must be wondering what hammertoe treatment options are. We are here to explain everything you need to know about ways to fix this annoying condition – keep reading for all the information.
What Are Non-Surgical Treatments for Hammertoe?
Hammertoe deformity is a foot condition in which one of the lesser toes is permanently bent at a certain angle to the foot and can’t be straightened. The deformity can be flexible initially, and it usually becomes rigid as time passes.
If you are diagnosed with a hammertoe in its early stages while the toe is still flexible, your podiatrist will most likely recommend non-surgical treatment. These non-surgical treatment options for a hammertoe are designed to help ease the pain and reduce swelling. They should also help correct the hammertoe, but this doesn’t always happen – that’s when we have to turn to surgery for a solution. Still, here are treatments that you should try before opting for surgery.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are your regular over-the-counter pain medications. They are administered orally and should help with the pain and inflammation of your toe. Your doctor will decide on the right dose for your condition and tell you how long the medication should be taken. If you have to use these drugs for a long time, the doctor will have to monitor the use. Keep in mind that there might be some side effects of these drugs, such as nausea and headaches.
There are many over-the-counter products that can help with a hammertoe, but you should talk to your podiatrist before getting any of them. These products are meant to straighten the toe and cushion the painful parts by reducing friction with the shoe. The most commonly used items are medical tape and splints – thanks to them, you can stabilize the toe by taping it to the adjacent toe. There are also shoe pads that act as a cushion between the shoe and corns or calluses (these can often develop on the hammertoe). Pads help relieve the pain and make walking easier.
Podiatrists can recommend using orthotic inserts if you have hammertoe or bunion deformities. These are soft but firm inserts that can be either custom-made or bought over the counter. The point of using orthotic inserts is to redistribute your body weight more evenly across the foot. As a result, there won’t be excess stress on any bones or joints, and you will be in less pain.
When Is the Surgery for Hammertoe the Best Option?
If the non-surgical treatments above don’t give any results, your podiatrist will recommend surgery as the ultimate way to get rid of a hammertoe. In some patients, non-surgical treatment can work very well, but in cases when it doesn’t, surgery is the only option left. However, this isn’t the type of procedure that should worry you too much. First – it’s successful in most cases, and second – today, there are minimally invasive hammertoe surgeries that will get you back to your feet before you know it.
What Are Surgical Treatments For Hammertoe?
There are a few ways your surgeon can fix a hammertoe, and the procedure that works best for you will be decided after a careful evaluation by your doctor. Keep in mind that not all hammertoes are the same – some are caused by underlying medical conditions, such as arthritis. If a patient has a condition that’s a clear cause of the hammertoe, the doctor will recommend treating that primary condition first. However, if the sole problem is a hammertoe, there are a few surgical procedures that can help fix it.
If you have a flexible hammertoe, tendon transfer can be an excellent choice. Tendons attach muscles to the bones. Your surgeon will reposition a tendon near the hammertoe so that it can pull the joint into a straight position. This will not only improve the appearance of the toe but also ensure you’re no longer in pain.
If you have a fixed hammertoe, joint resection can help return the toe back to its original position. This type of surgery includes cutting tendons or ligaments and removing a part of the bone in order to straighten the toe. You might need temporary pins after the procedure, which would be removed after a few weeks.
To relieve the pain and improve the appearance, your surgeon can also perform a fusion procedure. They will cut the tendons and ligaments, then remove the ends of the bone, and place pins to keep the joint in the desired position. The pins will remain in place until the joint has fused (meaning that the bones have grown together).
In some rare cases, even the surgical treatment can fail to rid the patient of all the pain – there are hammertoe surgeries gone wrong. If there is no other treatment option left, your podiatrist might recommend amputating the toe – that is, removing it completely. While this procedure relieves the pain, it’s important to keep in mind that it permanently changes the appearance of the foot and has a harder recovery period. This is the last resort when everything else fails.
Consult With Your Surgeon About Hammertoe Treatment Options
If you have a hammertoe and need treatment, you can contact us for help. Our experienced professional at Luxe Foot Surgery clinic is here to help you with various treatment options. Schedule a consultation with your podiatrist to learn all about your options – our specialist is excellent at what they do and will ensure you are taken care of in the best way possible. You can send us an inquiry form or call our office to book your appointment.
Can Hammertoe Be Corrected Without Surgery?
Yes, there are non-surgical treatment options for a hammertoe. These include NSAIDs, various over-the-counter products, and orthotic inserts.
Is It Worth Getting Hammertoe Surgery?
While it might sound scary to undergo surgery, you should know that hammertoe surgeries are well worth it and fix the deformity in the vast majority of cases.
How Do Doctors Correct Hammertoes?
Apart from offering non-surgical treatment options, doctors can fix hammertoes surgically with the following procedures – tendon transfer, joint resection, fusion procedure, and amputation.
What Can a Podiatrist Do for Hammertoes?
Your podiatrist can recommend non-surgical treatments or suggest one of the surgical procedures that can fix the hammertoe.