7 Methods to Relieve Hammer Toe Pain
A hammer toe can cause severe pain and discomfort. Fortunately, symptoms of a hammer toe can be significantly reduced with the right treatments undertaken as soon as possible to stop or slow down the development of the hammer toe.
Here are 7 effective methods to relieve hammer toe pain and related symptoms.
One of the most important methods to relieve hammer toe pain is to find shoes that are well fitted. Your feet and toes should have enough space to move. This means that your footwear should have a wide toe box.
Small and narrow shoes will provide constant pressure on the toes, causing pain and further deformity. Also, avoid wearing high heels because they transfer body weight onto the toes and the ball of the foot.
Supportive insoles help to stabilise your feet and complement the natural shape of the human foot. They allow your foot muscles to relax and ultimately alleviate pressure from all areas of the foot.
When choosing an insole, make sure that it fits well inside your shoes. It should not be too big or too small as it'll either crumple up or move around too much; as a result, it'll be detrimental to your foot form and general comfort.
Hammer Toe Taping
Taping can be used to temporarily straighten a hammer toe and relieve pain. It's a popular and often effective treatment. You can buy a hook-and-loop toe wraps or if you prefer, first-aid tape will also do the trick.
Here are the basic steps on how to tape your toes:
- Make sure to cut enough tape so you are able to tape the hammer toe together with one or two adjacent toes.
- Wrap one normal toe next to the hammer toe and make a full circle around it. Make sure not to tighten it too much.
- Go over the hammer toe so that the tape pushes the toe and extends the joint.
- The last step is to wrap the normal toe on the other side of the hammer toe. This way, two normal toes and a hammer toe will be taped together which will push the deformed joint downward causing the hammer toe to straighten.
Hammer Toe Cushions and Pads
Hammer toe cushions, pads and foams can be placed under toes, between toes and around the toes to reduce pain and discomfort. Some of them will also separate and help straighten the hammer toe.
Removing Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses will often develop in pressure spots on the feet. Not only can they cause severe pain and discomfort (especially when walking) but they can also worsen the condition and associated symptoms of a hammer toe.
In case you have developed corns or calluses, it’s important to start treatment as soon as possible. Regular debridement (thinning of calluses) is the best option to prevent them from overgrowing.
The hard and dry skin can usually be removed safely at home with corn and callus removers. Ointments and creams can also aid in the removal process.
If your hammer toe has developed redness and swelling particularly on pressure points, then applying an ice pack is usually effective for reducing inflammation and pain.
Apply an ice pack on the point of swelling 3-4 times per day for 10-20 minutes each time until the pain and swelling subsides. To prevent frostbite, avoid using an ice pack directly on the skin. Instead, wrap a cloth around the ice pack before placing it on your foot.
Toe exercises will strengthen muscles that maintain a normal position of the toes. It will also help with the functionality of the toes and feet.
The toe crunch is a very simple exercise which can help make your feet muscles stronger. To perform this exercise:
- Place a towel on the floor beneath your feet
- Use only your toes to slowly crunch the towel
- Repeat this for 10-15 times and then take a break
Another simple toe exercise is the toe lift.
- Place your heel on the ground and lift your toes
- Keep them in that position for a few seconds
- Lower one toe at the time so they each individually touch the ground
You can also use marbles to strengthen your toes. Just place some marbles on the ground, take a seat and try to grab them using only your toes.