How Do You Straighten Hammer Toes?


Quick Answer

Padding and taping procedures to help align the toe, cortisone injections, custom orthotic devices and surgical procedures can straighten hammertoes, according to Hartford HealthCare Medical Group. Wearing comfortable footwear and taking anti-inflammatory medications can also help to decrease pressure and swelling.

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Full Answer

If a podiatrist recommends surgery for hammertoes, surgical options include joint resection treatments, in which a surgeon removes a portion of the toe joint, as well as bone-mending procedures in which the joints are removed and an implant is inserted to straighten the toe, explains foot and ankle surgeon Dr. Neal Blitz. Hammertoes can also be treated with ligament relocation, a procedure that repositions the toe joints and ligaments and utilizes a surgical rod to keep the toe aligned.

Recovery from all hammertoe surgeries takes about six weeks, notes Dr. Blitz. Depending on the type of surgery and which toe received the procedure, patients can resume wearing normal footwear in as little as two weeks or as long as three months.

Hammertoe surgery is typically not advised for patients who are capable of straightening their toes or for those who find relief with non-surgical procedures, such as padding or strapping, explains MedlinePlus. Surgery may be recommended for individuals with severe pain or recurring infections that result from the condition. Complications of hammertoe surgery include infected toe bones, painful scar tissue, nerve damage that can lead to numbness, and severe stiffness of the toe joints.

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