While a bunion is a foot deformity most known for affecting the joint of the big toe, a hammertoe is a similar deformity that affects the middle joint of the smaller toes. Over time, this problem causes the toes to curl downward, resembling a claw. If left untreated, these affected toes become rigid, and may even require surgery. Accordingly, the goal of our podiatrists, Dr. Sara Bouraee and Dr. Jon Houseworth, is to make sure your hammertoes are detected early on and treated before they become a major issue. Read on to learn more, and call one of our offices in either Williamsburg or Hampton, VA, if you need treatment.
What are the ways to treat a hammertoe?
If you are dealing with a flexible hammertoe, then you may be able to slow its progression by implementing proper foot care, a task that can entail these simple approaches:
- Only wearing shoes that offer a wide toe box (if toes are scrunched up against each other this is a big no-no)
- Wearing shoes that have a heel no higher than 2 inches
- Applying a non-medicated protective pad over the hammertoe to prevent friction and the formation of a callus
- Massaging the feet to improve blood flow and reduce pain
- Icing the feet or soaking them in warm water to ease discomfort
- Getting custom orthotics from our podiatrists to provide additional foot support
When should I see a doctor?
If you aren’t sure whether you might be dealing with a hammertoe or not, or if you are experiencing pain, stiffness, or other problems in the toes or feet, then it’s time to make an appointment with one of our foot doctors in Williamsburg or Hampton, VA. There, we can easily diagnose hammertoes or other foot deformities through a simple physical exam, and in some cases, with X-ray imaging.
Additionally, if your foot pain, swelling, or other issues aren’t responding to at-home care, it might be time to see your podiatrist. There are foot exercises and other treatment options including cortisone injections that may be more effective at alleviating your persistent and more severe symptoms.
Is surgery the best option for treating my hammertoes?
If a hammertoe is your primary issue, then surgery may be the best option; however, if your hammertoe is due to another condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis, then treating the underlying cause may be the best option over surgery. A rigid or inflexible hammertoe that causes significant pain and discomfort can often benefit from surgery to correct and repair the joint.
Need care? Give us a call
If you are noticing any changes in the shape or health of your feet, then it’s important that you don’t ignore the problem. Call Hampton Roads Foot and Ankle Specialists in Williamsburg and Hampton, VA, today at (757) 220-3311.