Talking About Sports Injuries and Orthopedic Care Practices

Three Ways To Ease Hammer Toe Discomfort Without Resorting To Surgery

Hammer toe occurs when the ligaments in the toe joint shorten, causing that toe joint to become stuck in the "bent" position. If you have one or more hammer toes, you may experience discomfort and pain on a daily basis. Surgery can alleviate this pain and correct the condition, but if you cannot undergo surgery or don't desire to do so, there are some non-surgical ways to make yourself more comfortable.

Have custom orthotics made.

Much of the pain and discomfort of hammer toe usually comes from the affected toe rubbing or pressing on your shoe. Even if you purchase shoes with extra wide toe areas to accommodate your hammer toe, they may wiggle around on your foot, causing irritation. Custom orthotics can be designed to fit inside your normal shoes and keep your toe from being put under excess pressure. Visit a podiatrist or orthopedist to have a set made.

Keep in mind that if your hammer toe continues to get worse, you will need to go back in and have a new set of orthotics made to accommodate it. Your podiatrist or orthopedist will tell you how often new orthotics will be necessary, based on the severity and progression of your condition.

Use hammer toe pads.

Available at most pharmacies, hammer toe pads are sticky, bandage-like pads that you can wrap around the affected toe. They will keep the toe from rubbing on your shoe, preventing blisters and irritation. Look for a brand that has a gel lining, as this offers the most protection. Some brands even have a soothing menthol-based medication on the inside; these are a good choice for days when your toe is already sore as you put on your shoes. You can use hammer toe pads for extra protection along with orthotics, or as a stand-alone treatment.

Soak your sore foot in Epsom salts.

On days when your toe is really aching by the time you get home, prepare an Epsom salts bath by tossing a handful or so of Epsom salts into a pan of warm water. Soak your foot for at least 10 minutes. The magnesium salts will help relieve inflammation, which should ease your discomfort. If you use an Epsom salts bath at the end of a long day, you should find that your toe is much less sore the next day.

By relying on custom orthotics, hammer toe pads, and Epsom salts baths, you can keep the pain associated with hammer toe under control. Talk to a podiatrist or orthopedist for more information.