How to Relieve Hammertoe Pain at Home
Hammertoes are painful. No doubt about it. And surgery can correct the problem. But if you are like many people, you want surgery to be the last option. Luckily, there are some alternatives that you can try. You don’t have to accept that foot pain is just a fact of life.
You probably already know that hammertoes are a common foot deformity involving curling of the toes. Chronic changes in the structure of the foot is normally the source of this condition. Hammertoes usually develop slowly over a lifetime. The result is a positioning of the toes causing the joints on the top of the toes becoming susceptible to irritation and damage from shoes. If corns develop, the toes become painful.
Surgery can be used to straighten the toes. This is an effective and successful way to solve the problem with a quick recovery period. However, there are other options.
First, find a better fitting shoe. Do not suffer at the expense of fashion. You need to wear shoes that do not cause pressure on the top of the toes.
Second, if you cannot find shoes to relieve the problem, use padding. There are several different padding designs specifically made for hammertoe relief. Many people believe that the most effective design involves silicone gel. One can purchase a tube design that then sets on top of the toes providing relief from the shoes. The only problem with this design is if the patient has swollen feet. You do not want the padding to hinder blood flow to the toes.
Another option that has been successful for some is to use tape (athletic tape) to hold the toe down. The tape goes across the toe and then crosses and is taped to the underside of the foot.The tape will need to be replaced daily or more frequently. Make sure that you have no allergies to adhesives.
One final way one can reduce the pain of their hammertoes is to simply control the thickness of any corns on the top of the toes. Corns, also called hyperkeratosis, are the natural reaction of the skin to abnormal pressure. As the skin thickens, the hard tissue on the top layer can cause pain if the tissue is too thick. By regularly filing the corn down every couple of days after bathing, the thickness of it can be reduced and toe comfort increased. Filing should be performed with an emery board or pumice stone, as the use of sandpaper or more abrasive material can harm the skin. It should be done gently, without trying to scrape off the entire top layer of the skin at once. Razors, scissors, and knives should not be used, especially in diabetics or those with poor sensation or circulation, as the likelihood of causing an injury is very high in the hands of those who are not specially trained to sharply remove corns. Moisturizers and exfoliant creams can be used to supplement the filing and to keep the skin soft and pliable.
As one can see, there are many actions that can be performed at home to reduce the pain of hammertoes. While hammertoe surgery is highly successful, not everyone can have this procedure performed. Toe pain is not normal, and should not be accepted. Home treatment measures, like the ones described above, can lead to comfortable toes and in some cases can replace the need for corrective surgery all together.
In any case, you should contact your podiatrist in Plano, TX, to discuss your options.