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Treatment. Hammertoe and Mallet Toe

By Editorial Team (A)
February 22, 2022

Hammertoe and mallet toe treatment

If you can still move your toe, the health care provider may suggest you switch to a different shoe that provides more room for your toes. Another recommendation may include pads for your shoes or shoe inserts. These can change the position of your toe, which will help relieve the pain and pressure of hammertoe and mallet toe.

In addition to these recommendations, doctors sometimes prescribe exercises to strengthen and stretch the muscles in the toes. These exercises might include picking up things off the floor, such as a towel or some marbles, with the toes.

Hammertoe and mallet toe surgery

Sometimes these treatments aren’t effective for hammertoe and mallet toe. In that case, the doctor might suggest surgery to release the tendon that’s keeping the toe bent. Seldom, pieces of bone are also removed to straighten the toe.

Prevention of hammertoe and mallet toe

Many foot, ankle, heel, and toe problems can be avoided by wearing footwear that fits right. When shopping for shoes, look for the following: 

  • Enough room in the toes: You should avoid shoes with pointed toes, especially if you have hammertoe or mallet toe
  • Low or no heels: In addition to helping to prevent hammertoe and mallet toe, this will help your back 
  • The ability to adjust: You can adjust the fit of shoes with laces or straps to give your hammertoe or mallet toe more room. 

Here are some additional hints to consider when shopping for shoes, especially if you have hammertoe or mallet toe: 

  • Don’t buy shoes in the morning: The feet are larger in the afternoon or evening. If you try on shoes in the morning, they may be too tight. 
  • Try on before buying. Every time: Not all brands and styles follow the same sizing. In addition, your shoe size can change with time. It is particularly true when talking about the foot width. Measure both your feet. Buy shoes that are the size of the bigger foot. 
  • Ask for shoes that fit right. If there is a tight spot, a store specializing in shoe repair can sometimes stretch the spots where a shoe is tight. 

Helpful advice and home remedies for hammertoe and mallet toe

Wearing the right shoes can help ease the discomfort caused by hammertoe or mallet toe. Shoes with low or no heels, those that provide a wide box for the toes, and soft and flexible material to cover the toes may also be helpful. There should be at least one-half inch of room between the end of the shoe and the tip of the longest toe. When the toes have enough room, pain and pressure often decrease.

If corns form on the top of the toe due to hammertoe or mallet toe, avoid any over-the-counter products to treat them. These are likely to contain salicylic acid, which can harm healthy skin. Also, don’t attempt to cut, trim or shave off corns. It can result in a difficult-to-treat infection, especially if you have poor circulation or diabetes.

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