Everyone’s toes are different. Some people have long toes, while others have shorter, rounder ones. Regardless of the different shapes and sizes, there’s one thing all toes should have in common: They should lie flat.

If your toe bends up in one of its middle joints, you likely have a condition called hammertoe. You shouldn’t ignore this problem. To prevent it from getting worse and harder to correct over time, Samantha Childers, DPM, and Ricky Childers, DPM, specialize in hammertoe treatment. At North Central Texas Foot & Ankle in Roanoke and Decatur, Texas, we can help you find the right course of action to alleviate your toe issue.

Why hammertoe treatment matters

At first, a bend in the middle of your toe might not seem like a big issue. Maybe it causes your toe to rub against the top of your shoe, but it might not bother you right away.

That doesn’t mean you should wait to deal with your hammertoe. When hammertoe is caught early, conservative treatment can generally help to correct the imbalance in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the affected toe. Over time, though, those tissue can get rigid, making the toe issue harder and harder to correct.

Conservative hammertoe treatment options

When caught early, most hammertoes respond well to:

Shoe changes

In many cases, improper shoes cause hammertoe. When your toes get crowded in your shoe, it makes it harder for them to lie flat. Allowing your toe to straighten could be as simple as swapping to roomier footwear.

Ideally, you should have at least a half-inch of space between the tip of your longest toe and the edge of your shoe. You also want to steer clear of shoes with a pointed toe and minimize wearing high heels as much as possible.

Stretching exercises

Since hammertoe stems from issues with your muscles, ligaments, and tendons, targeted stretches can often address it directly. Drs. Childers can recommend a specific set of exercises that you can do at home to lengthen and strengthen those tissues, helping to straighten your toe.

Shoe inserts

In some cases, our team may recommend orthotics or padding for the top of your shoes. This can help to encourage your toe to lay flat while also preventing calluses and corns from developing.

Tape and splints

Similarly, we might suggest taping or splinting your toe to encourage the correct positioning even when it’s in your shoe.

Clearly, you have plenty of options to explore to correct a hammertoe. To find out which best fits your foot, call or message one of our offices today to schedule an appointment.

Oct 17th, 2022

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