Hammer toes start as a flexible deformity. Stretching exercises can reduce the deformity. Since hammer toe is associated with certain foot structures, such as low-arched feet, wearing supportive shoe gear is critical.
When a patient comes into my office with a hammer toe deformity, I usually recommend a change in shoe gear immediately. The shoes should have a deep toe box to prevent irritation. Silicone or foam padding is often effective at reducing the irritation associated with hammer toes. Over-the-counter innersoles and orthodic devices can make the foot more stable, thereby reducing the deforming forces that make the hammer toe occur.
Should conservative therapy fail to alleviate the condition, surgical options are available. Hammer toe surgery typically consists of removing a portion of the bone, from each joint that's bent, and holding the toe in a straight position utilizing a pin. In some cases, we will fuse the toe to prevent recurrence.