Is Surgery the Only Option To Cure a Hammer Toe?

In a situation where you have a toe that is contracted at its middle joint and is painful, it’s normal to assume that the only way to treat this condition is with surgery. You may try to “tough it out” because the thought of having surgery on your feet is worse than the amount of pain you are in due to your hammer toe. Rather than wondering about the answer to the question, “Is surgery the only option to cure a hammer toe?” you are better off consulting a podiatrist.

What is a Hammer Toe?

A hammer toe is one that has had its ligaments and tendons tighten at the PIP joint, which is the middle joint in the toe. As a result, the toe curls downwards. This condition may affect any toe except the big one. This condition may cause discomfort from the hammer toe rubbing against the top of a shoe.

There are two types of hammer toes: rigid and flexible. A rigid hammer toe doesn’t have the ability to move and can be very painful. In some cases it can restrict movement of the foot, leading to corns and calluses. A flexible hammer toe can move at the joint and may be straightened manually.

Is Surgery the Only Option to Cure a Hammer Toe: the Answer

Surgery is one option to cure a hammer toe, but it is not the first option that a podiatrist will suggest. Only when other treatment options have been tried and have failed will surgery be suggested to a patient.

One way to treat a hammer toe is to change the type of footwear and make sure that the toe, or box area, is broad enough that it has enough room to accommodate the hammer toe. A shoe in this style will have enough room so that there is less friction against the toes.

Another conservative treatment option for hammer toes is to use hammer toe crests and hammer toe splints. These devices are worn to help hold down the hammer toe and provide relief to the front of the foot. Gel toe caps and gel toe shields may also be used to eliminate friction between the shoe and the toe, while keeping you comfortable.

As an experienced podiatrist, Sheldon H. Nadal, D.P.M. can diagnose and treat hammer toe and other foot health concerns. Contact him today to make an appointment for your personal consultation.