How to Prevent Hammertoe Complications

How to Prevent Hammertoe Complications

In a healthy foot, all of the toes extend straight out and lay flat when your foot is at rest. But when you have hammertoe, the toe stays bent. This causes the tip of the toe to point downward, causing the toe to resemble a hammer — hence the name. 

On its own, this condition can be less than ideal. But it can also lead to complications. If the toe stays fixed in its bent position long-term, it rubs against the tops of shoes, leading to issues like corns or blisters. 

If you want to correct your hammertoe and avoid complications, visit William T. DeCarbo, DPM, FACFAS, and our team at Greater Pittsburgh Foot & Ankle Center in Wexford, Pennsylvania. As an expert in hammertoe treatment, Dr. DeCarbo works with you to create a plan that straightens your toe while protecting it from further issues. 

Here are our top tips for avoiding hammertoe complications:

#1: Seek out treatment

Hammertoe can be corrected, but it’s easiest to treat if you seek care for it early. 

Here at our office, Dr. DeCarbo evaluates your foot and tailors a treatment planto help heal your hammertoe and avoid unwanted issues from it. In many cases, that’s as simple as making good footwear choices, adding orthotics to certain shoes, and doing some physical therapy for the toe. 

#2: Choose shoes that fit well

Bad shoes are a leading cause of hammertoes. Similarly, you’re most likely to have hammertoe complications if you continue to squeeze your feet into shoes that don’t allow the toe to extend straight out. 

Don’t go by shoe sizes. They vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Plus, your feet grow slightly as you get older. As a result, the only way to know if a shoe truly fits is to try it on. 

When you do, make sure there’s some room between your toe and the shoe. You want at least a half-inch of space between the front of the shoe and the end of your longest toe. 

We have a tip to help you choose shoes that aren’t overly snug: shoe shop at the end of the day. Most peoples’ feet swell throughout the day, so picking a well-fitting pair is easiest when you shop later. 

#3: Avoid high heels and narrow toes

These shoe choices cramp your toes, making your hammertoe worse while heightening the likelihood that it will rub on the top of the shoe. That heightens your risk of complications. 

#4: Stretch and strengthen your toes

Hammertoe develops because of an imbalance in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in your toes. As a result, stretching and strengthening your toes can help you straighten them, avoiding complications. Dr. DeCarbo can create a strengthening and stretching routine to help you. 

If you want to address your hammertoe and avoid complications from it, don’t wait to call our office or book your appointment online today.