How Can A Podiatrist Help With Hammertoe Management and Treatment?

Feet Care
Taking care of your feet is often overlooked
June 4, 2024
Surgery For an Ankle Injury
10 Essential Steps to Prepare for Ankle Surgery in Houston [Infographic]
June 25, 2024
Show all
Hammer Toes

Hammertoe is a deformity of the toe where bending occurs at the joint. It usually affects the second toe and often begins as a mild toe deformity without pain, but it becomes more of an issue over time. This condition is often seen in females since constricting footwear is usually the cause. If you have concerns about hammertoes, you must see a foot doctor since several treatment options can treat the condition if caught at an early stage. Let us see how a podiatrist can help manage and treat hammertoes.

How Can a Podiatrist Help?

A podiatrist in Houston can remove corns or calluses on the hammertoe, which often occur at the top of the toe on the knuckle joint or tip of the toe. This may be done using a scalpel or a sharp instrument. Remember that this procedure can only be carried out by a podiatrist. The foot doctor may also apply padding to offload the joint, which aims to relieve pain and prevent corns from reoccurring. However, padding is usually a short-term treatment option.

The doctor may also make an ottoform, a custom-made silicone device. This is a long-term treatment option and can reduce pressure either from the top or the tip of the toe, depending on the type of device being used. These devices are made solely for individual use and are generally more comfortable and effective than premade gel devices, which are available in pharmacies. Ottoforms are custom-made for the person and offer a better solution to the issue. Also, some gel devices are too bulky and uncomfortable and may even cause maceration.

How Can a Podiatrist Help Manage Hammertoe?

Podiatrists recommend the use of wide, round shoes with a deep toe box to provide more space around the toe area. They may also suggest a seam-free top since seams cause friction and pressure on the hammertoes, causing hard skin and corn. A circular bulge can also be added to the area of your shoe, pressing on the hammertoe to provide more comfort when walking. Another great alternative is open-toe sandals. If the condition cannot be managed with these options, surgery is the last resort.

Treatment Options for Hammertoe

  • Foot-aids: As mentioned above, the podiatrist may prescribe corn pads, shoe inserts, and foot straps to relieve pain and enhance the proper movement of the toes.
  • Therapy: The foot specialist may ask you to perform simple exercises and use simple equipment that can stretch and flatten the toes while also strengthening the muscles and ligaments that hold them. The ligaments, muscles, and tendons will gradually start aligning themselves to their original and natural position.
  • Medication: Painkillers and medicine may be prescribed to treat the infection and soreness in the toes before administering therapy or surgery.
  • Surgery: The podiatrist may opt for one or more surgical options depending on the severity of the condition. These options include tendon transfer, arthrodesis, arthroplasty, Weil osteotomy, and Basal phalangectomy. All of these techniques work on the joints, bones, and tendons that make up the deformed toe.

Summing Up

Though hammertoe is a simple condition, it cannot be ignored since it has life-changing and long-term implications. So make sure you consult a reputed podiatrist if you suffer from a hammertoe. He or she can diagnose your condition carefully and prescribe the right course of treatment for the best results.