If you have a hammer toe deformity, your doctor can offer both surgical and non-surgical treatment options. But, before you seek treatment, they’ll need you to identify the symptoms of a hammer toe. Because, when you come in for early treatment, your doctor can have greater success with less invasive interventions.

Want to know how to identify a developing hammer toe, or why you’d first develop this problem? We’ll explain all that—and more—in this post.

What is a Hammer Toe Deformity?
A hammer toe can occur if you damage the joints in your toes, also known as toe knuckles. Following that damage, the joints may become more visible or appear to buckle. Often, with a hammer toe deformity, your elevated toe joints will scrape against the top of your shoes. As a result, you may acquire corns and calluses in conjunction with this deformity.

Why do Hammer Toes Develop?
Hammer toes can develop for a variety of reasons, but the majority are caused by imbalances in the muscles, bones, and tendons that support your toes. As a result, a variety of conditions, including a developing bunion, a broken toe, or even a painful stubbing, can cause damage and result in a hammer toe deformity.

Hammer toes can be either flexible or unyielding. And the classification makes a significant impact. Why? When you have a flexible hammer toe, it can be straightened and repaired without surgery. But what if your hammer toe is hard and unyielding and cannot be straightened? Now, surgical therapy is probably your best option.

Non-Surgical Treatments for a Hammer Toe Deformity
With early intervention, your doctor can almost usually straighten your flexible hammer toe without surgery. However, to do so properly, they must treat both the existing shape of your toe and the causes that produced the deformity in the first place.

Most podiatrists typically take a multifaceted approach to nonsurgical hammer toe treatments. To begin, they'll examine your footwear and change you into shoes that allow your toes to move freely. They'll also fit you for custom orthotics, which are individualized medical quality insoles that can correct the imbalances that cause hammer toes. By doing so, they will achieve two distinct goals: they will relieve pressure on your toes, allowing them to straighten up and feel better. They will also ensure that your hammer toe deformity does not reoccur after treatment—as long as you continue to use those orthotics regularly.

But how can your doctor physically correct your twisted toes? They have numerous alternatives. Many individuals can improve their hammer toes by using a toe splint. And, as you reposition your toes, the doctor can treat your discomfort with over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. Finally, you can accelerate the repair process by performing toe stretches and exercises that reduce tension in your toes while strengthening the muscles that support them.

Treating a Hammer Toe Deformity: When Is Surgery Necessary?
While there are many excellent non-surgical hammer toe treatments available, surgery may be required in some cases. But how can you know when this is the right therapy option? When you visit our Southern Oregon podiatry facility, which also serves Northern California, you will receive a thorough consultation from a doctor. During your consultation, you will be given a comprehensive physical exam as well as a medical history. Once your doctor has discovered the source of your hammer toes and the severity of your disease, they can decide which treatment options will provide you with the best outcomes while causing the least disturbance to your daily life.

Non-surgical treatments are now effective for the majority of patients with flexible hammer toe deformities. However, if you have inflexible hammer toes, surgery is likely to be the best treatment. Remember that in podiatry practice, clinicians usually consider surgery as a last resort. When doctors prescribe a surgical procedure, they can also provide treatment add-ons such as MLS laser therapy, which can minimize post-operative pain and shorten your recovery time.

When to See a Podiatrist for a Hammer Toe Deformity
Podiatrists understand that most patients prefer to discover non-surgical treatments for their foot problems. So, if you wish to fix your hammer toe deformity using non-invasive treatment alternatives, you should schedule a consultation with a doctor as soon as you observe any changes in the shape of your toes or foot.

Author's Bio: 

I am Amelia Grant, a journalist, and blogger. I think that information is a great force that is able to change people’s lives for the better. That is why I feel a strong intention to share useful and important things about health self-care, wellness, and other advice that may be helpful for people. Being an enthusiast of a healthy lifestyle that keeps improving my life, I wish the same for everyone.

Our attention to ourselves, to our daily routine and habits, is very important. Things that may seem insignificant, are pieces of a big puzzle called life. I want to encourage people to be more attentive to their well-being, improve every little item of it and become healthier, happier, stronger. All of us deserve that. And I really hope that my work helps to make the world better.