How to Treat Hammertoes


The condition called hammertoe causes the joints of your middle toes to bend downward in the shape of a hammer. It is caused by an imbalance in the tendons and muscles that supply the toes, and may be inherited. Tight fitting shoes and arthritis can increase the prevalence of hammertoes.

Symptoms of hammertoes

The bending of the affected toes will become more pronounced over time and is often accompanied by burning, redness, and tenderness. Blisters and pain may be caused by rubbing against the inside of your footwear. Painful corns may form on the top of hammertoes, and bunions are also more prevalent in people who have hammertoe problems.

How to treat hammertoes

Some non-invasive treatments include the following:

  1. Custom made orthotic insertsThese can cushion the toe and correct the imbalance between the tendons, ligaments, and muscles

  2. Moleskin pads—These are used for corns and calluses to eliminate rubbing 

  3. Proper footwear—Shoes with a wide toe box and low heels can help take the pressure off the affected toes

  4. Cortisone—Steroid injections can be used to help reduce inflammation

  5. Physical realignment—Splinting or special night braces are used to realign bent toes

  6. Pain treatment—Ibuprofen or Tylenol may be taken for pain and swelling

  7. Flexibility and strengthening exercises—Stretching and strengthening exercises can help maintain some flexibility and movement of the joints.

Hammertoes are easier to treat in the early stages when they still retain some flexibility. When they become more rigid and more painful, it may be necessary to have them surgically realigned.

If you are suffering from painful hammertoes, see your podiatrist for the proper care. At E.J. Nemet Podiatry in Twinsburg,  E.J. Nemet, DPM, treats a variety of foot and ankle conditions, including sports injuriespediatric foot problems, diabetic foot complications, nerve disorders, and toenail and skin conditions.With advanced technologies and a dedicated staff, Dr. Nemet provides expert and compassionate care to patients in the Twinsburg and Beachwood areas. To contact us or to schedule an appointment, please call (234) 212-9940.