How to Treat Hammertoe

Another of the internally developing foot problems, hammertoes are twisted toes that resemble a bird's claw. Hammertoes tend to be hereditary, although they can sometimes occur as the result of an injury to the toe, to neurological trauma (such as a stroke), or to years of wearing extremely tight-fitting shoes. Although hammertoes cannot be "healed" once they form, this article offers tips on how to treat hammertoe to relieve pain.

Hammertoes may form in conjunction with a bunion: A bunion, which appears as a bony bump on the outside of your big toe, may force your big toe inward. This, in turn, forces your second toe, and sometimes even the outer toes, out of shape, thus creating hammertoes. The fifth, or little, toes can become hammertoes if your arches are pronated, or flattened.

Hammertoes hurt when their unusual shape forces them to rub against the inside of a shoe or against the other toes. If the hammertoe is rubbing against the inside of the shoe, a corn may develop on the top of the toe. The best ways to relieve hammertoe discomfort:

  • Choose shoes that have a lot of room above the toes. This extra room will help to accommodate the twisted hammertoe and help prevent the hammertoe from rubbing against the inside of the shoe.

  • Pad the hammertoe. The padding can help protect the hammertoe from excessive friction inside the shoe.

  • Wear open-toed sandals or slippers that won't put pressure on your toes whenever possible.

If your hammertoe is causing continued pain despite the home remedies suggested here, see a podiatrist to discuss the medical options for treating your hammertoe. For more permanent treatment of a very painful hammertoe, surgery -- surgical release of a tight or shortened tendon and/or small-bone removal -- may be advised.

Another painful everyday foot problem is known as a neuroma. Learn about this condition and how to treat it on the next page.

To learn more about treating and avoiding problems with your feet, visit:

  • Foot Injuries: Find out how to avoid unpleasant injuries to your feet, or at least reduce pain and prevent infection after they occur, with these simple suggestions.
  • How to Care for Your Feet: Learn how to keep your feet -- and yourself -- healthy and happy with these tips on caring for your feet, including selecting the right shoes.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.