When hammer toes are mild and still flexible, they can usually be treated successfully with simple measures. Your healthcare provider may recommend a combination of stretching and physical therapy, footwear modifications, splinting and taping.
Your doctor will examine your foot and toes, especially the area of your toe that has a bent shape. He or she will ask about your symptoms (pain, redness, swelling), how long the toe has been bent like this and whether other toes have also become affected. Your doctor may order an X-ray of your foot to help see the tendons and bones in your toes. Your doctor may also order other tests, such as a blood flow test or nerve testing, to figure out what’s causing your toe joint to tighten.
How to fix hammer toes with tape
A hammer toe is most often caused by wearing shoes that are too small and bind the feet and toes. It can also be a result of an injury or arthritis in the toe. Some patients have a genetic tendency to develop hammer toes. This means they are more likely to get them than other people.
If the toe is still flexible, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers or a cortisone shot to alleviate the pain and swelling. You may also find it helpful to use a corn and callus remover or ointment. If the toe becomes too rigid, your doctor may recommend surgery. The type of surgery depends on your symptoms and medical history, such as whether you have diabetes or if you’ve had other toe problems in the past that might have contributed to your hammer toe.