Nonsurgical treatments for hammertoe, claw toe and mallet toe include wearing comfortable and spacious shoes, inserting pads inside the shoes for support as needed, and performing recommended toe exercises, according to Muir Orthopaedic Specialists. In more advanced or serious cases, surgery is needed to ease the pain and discomfort.
Footwear for those suffering from hammertoe, claw toe and mallet toe must have plenty of room in the toe area, according to MOS. Pads and supports in the shoes or over-the-counter medication can be used to relieve any pain or discomfort. Stretching exercises for the toes are prescribed as a way to prevent flexible deformities from becoming fixed and more uncomfortable.
Taping or splinting one or more toes together is useful for preventing discomfort when wearing shoes, but this does not lead to a long-term correction of the problem, notes MOS. However, because bent toes can lead to sores or calluses from friction and rubbing when wearing certain types of shoes, taping and splinting can help avoid this.
Because these deformities are often caused by years of stress from wearing ill-fitting footwear, they are commonly irreversible through non-surgical treatment, according to MOS. Damage and shrinking of the muscles and tendons around the toe joints is sometimes irreversible even with surgery.