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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Hammertoe: Treatment & Monitoring
      Category : Health Centers > Bones, Joints, and Muscles


Alternate Names : Claw Toe, Mallet Toe

Hammertoe | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the condition?

Treatment can be as simple as selecting roomy socks and shoes with enough toe space to prevent knuckles from rubbing against the shoe material. Also, the areas that rub can be cushioned with corn pads to prevent calluses and blisters. Flexible hammertoes can sometimes be straightened out by splinting them for several months. Occasionally, the contraction of the toes can be controlled by using arch supports and prescription shoe inserts. When conservative measures fail to bring relief, the toes can be straightened surgically. This operation often has good results.

What are the side effects of the treatments?

Potential complications of surgery to straighten the toes include:

  • risk of toe joints contracting again
  • infection following the operation. This may need to be treated with oral antibiotics or, in severe cases, hospitalization and IV antibiotics.
  • chronic swelling. This occurs because the soft tissue over the toe bone is very tight. The problem can usually be managed with physical therapy or steroid injections.
  • What happens after treatment for the condition?

    If surgery was needed to correct this condition, the person may need to use crutches for a few days after surgery. An open toed shoe should be worn until the pain and swelling has decreased. Pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen are used to treat post-operative pain. The feet should be kept elevated to decrease swelling.

    How is the condition monitored?

    The person can monitor symptoms, and report changes to the healthcare provider.

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    Hammertoe: Prevention & Expectations


    Author: Bill O'Halloran, DPM
    Reviewer: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
    Date Reviewed: 05/18/01

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