The deformity called hammertoe gets its name because of the propensity of the middle toes to bend into the shape of a hammer due to muscle and tendon imbalances. These imbalances are actually hereditary, but they can become exacerbated by stress and pressure. Shoes like high heels that push your toes together are a major cause of toe deformities like hammertoes and bunions.


Hammertoes are more flexible and more easily straightened in the early stages of the condition. Seeing your podiatrist at this stage will allow you to effectively treat your hammertoes without the need for surgery. A variety of methods are used to stretch and hold the toes in a straighter position. 

Some excellent early hammertoe treatments include the following:
Properly-fitted shoes—Always have your shoes properly fitted to provide the right combination of cushioning and support. A wide toe box is essential for giving your toes room to move without creating friction against your footwear and to allow room for pads and orthotic inserts.
Physical therapy—Strengthening and flexing your toes with regular therapy exercises will help straighten toes and maintain flexibility in the joints, muscles, and tendons. Toe extension and towel scrunching are excellent exercises for this purpose.
Padding and custom orthotic inserts—Orthotic shoe inserts can redirect pressure from the bent toes and aid in straightening.  A variety of cushioned pads are available to help reduce rubbing against the corns that often form on top of hammertoes.
When hammertoes have become more advanced, it may be necessary to have a surgical procedure to correct them. Depending upon how rigid and bent your toes have become, several options are available that you can discuss with your foot doctor.

If you are having problems with painful hammertoes, consult with our board-certified podiatrists at Foot and Ankle Center of Fort Lee, LLC. The center offers convenient locations in Fort Lee NJ, Ringwood NJ, Flushing Queens NY, Woodhaven NY, Brooklyn NY, and Forest Hills NY. Contact us at (201) 363-9844and schedule an appointment today!

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