Everyone’s feet look a little different. Some people have long toes; others have a bony bump at the base of their big toe (a bunion). Some people’s toes extend straight out and lie flat. But if you have a bend in the middle joint of your toe that prevents it from lying flat, even choosing a pair of shoes can be a pain — literally.
Fortunately, if you have a hammertoe, Christopher Vittori, DPM, and Ameet Thakrar, DPM, can help. At our Vittori Foot & Ankle Specialist’s offices in Homer Glen and New Lenox, Illinois, they offer a variety of options to help you wear shoes more comfortably. Generally, they start with the most conservative treatment options, so let’s look at those first.
Early treatments for hammertoe
The goal is to get your toe to lie flat so it doesn’t rub against the top of your shoe. At its simplest, this might mean swapping out your shoes.
Specifically, you should look for pairs with a roomy toe box. Something with a tapered or narrow toe might not work for you anymore. The same goes for high heels, which can cram your toes into the toe box, causing discomfort for your hammertoe (and potentially making it worse).
That said, if you have a pair of shoes you really love, we may be able to straighten your toe in them. We can show you how to tape or strap your hammertoe so it lies flatter in those shoes. That said, we recommend that you choose roomy shoes, most days since your footwear could be the cause of your hammertoe.
While you make shoe changes, we can also teach you specific stretches to help to alleviate your hammertoe. These are generally most effective if you start them early, so don’t wait to seek treatment.
Next steps for hammertoe care
If you switch out your shoes and try taping and stretching your toe but still have issues, we can explore adding things to your footwear to help.
With specialized padding and custom orthotics, we can put things in your shoes to encourage your toe to straighten. Not only can this make your shoes more comfortable, but it also gives your foot the support it needs to ensure your hammertoe doesn’t get worse.
Surgery to fix hammertoes
If these more conservative treatments don’t correct your hammertoe enough to let you wear shoes problem-free, we may recommend surgery.
We offer minimally invasive hammertoe surgery to release the connective tissue causing the abnormal bend in your toe. This lets your joint return to proper alignment, meaning you should be able to wear shoes completely comfortably once you’ve fully recovered.
Don’t let a bend in your toe interfere with your ability to wear shoes. To get the care you need — and to prevent your hammertoe from getting worse — call Vittori Foot & Ankle Specialist or schedule an appointment online today.