According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, over 75 percent of U.S. adults admit to having foot pain. However, just one-third of them seek treatment. Hammertoes are one of the most common foot conditions reported for causing foot pain. A hammertoe may cause pain in just one toe or several, but can quickly result in additional complications if untreated.
What is a Hammertoe?
Have you seen feet where the toes look squished together and overlap? That is sometimes the result of a hammertoe. A Hammertoe is a condition that typically affects one of the three middle toes. It is a disorder of the tendons and joints that creates an abnormal bend in the affected toe. While some people can manage the symptoms with a few lifestyle changes and quality footcare products, others may need to have surgery.
Hammertoe surgery is usually covered by insurance if the condition is deemed a medical necessity. If correction of a hammertoe is done for only cosmetic reasons, insurance isn’t likely to pay for it. Out of pocket surgery for hammertoe costs around $4,200 on average.
If you have a toe that becomes deformed and sticks up above other toes, it often impacts the toe next to it. That toe may also experience calluses, blisters, and corns on top of the hammertoe because it rubs on the shoe. Fortunately, there are a few non-surgical treatments that will work for some people.
Switching to appropriate footwear that is wide and loose fitting can help. Wearing socks that are padded to create a barrier between the shoe and your foot may also help. Orthotic inserts can help distribute your weight more evenly across the feet and take stress away from the toes. ZenToes also has a variety of products to help with hammertoe symptoms. Here are just a few of our customer favorites:
- Hammer Toe Wrap - Hammer toes can make it difficult to keep up with your active lifestyle. The constant bend in the toe can lead to calluses, sores and blisters when you're working out and can make it hard for you to wear your favorite stylish shoes. Surgery can end up causing extreme pain and forcing you to stay off your feet for extended periods of time, making it not the right choice for everyone. With the ZenToes Toe Wrap, you can address the problem of hammer toes without painful, invasive interventions and take a more holistic, gentle approach to pain relief and foot care.
- Triple Loop Hammer Toe Straightener Crest - When your toes start to encroach on one another, overlapping and causing pinching or chafing, it can really affect your stability, comfort, and foot health. In fact, when left untreated for too long, it can begin to damage ligaments and joints in the feet. That’s why we developed ZenToes Toe Straighteners made with soft, flexible silicone. They slip in between your toes to help keep them straight without causing irritation; and they can even be worn inside your favorite pair of shoes!
Gel Lined Toe Tubes - Got a painful toe corn? An unsightly toe callus? Problems with dry skin on your toes or brittle nails? Are crooked or overlapped toes making all of your shoes a nightmare to wear? No matter what type of foot care problems you're facing, the solution is the same--just slip on ZenToes Toe Tubes to promote healthier, happier toes!
Whether you have a corn between toes or chronic foot pain due to toe friction, ZenToes Toe Tubes are the perfect solution. Our uniquely designed toe protectors are constructed out of a flexible fabric material that you can cut to the perfect length for any toe.
Keep in mind that a hammertoe will likely get worse if it isn’t treated and become more and more painful. Over time, hammertoes often become stiffer and less responsive to non-surgical treatment options.
Types of Hammertoe Surgery
There are two types of surgery that are the most common for correcting a painful hammertoe.
- Fusion Surgery – During this surgery, the surgeon will cut the ligaments and tendons of the hammertoe in order to straighten it. In addition, the end of the bone in the toe are often cut to help the toe straighten. Because these bones have to fuse together in order to heal, your surgeon will use screws or pins to connect them back together so they can heal correctly.
- Joint Resection Surgery – This type of surgery will straighten and correct the ligaments and tendons as well, and the surgeon may cut them to extend your toe. The end of the toe bone is removed in the surgery to help straighten out and stretch the toe back into a normal position. This type of surgery will also include the use of pins or rods to ensure the toe stays straight during recovery.
What to Expect During Recovery
Hammertoe surgery is often an outpatient procedure, but it will take several weeks for the full recovery. You will likely need a walker or crutches to help you walk while your toe heals. Both types of surgery will likely leave you with a toe that is longer or shorter than what you had before, and you will have some pain and stiffness for a bit. This can be relieved by keeping your foot elevated during recovery.
A few weeks after surgery, you will likely have to return to have any rods, pins, or screws that were placed temporarily removed. The good news, however, is that you will likely never suffer from hammertoe ever again, especially if you wear shoes that fit correctly.