Treatment of Toe Deformities
Treatment depends on the severity of your deformity; the goal is to relieve pain, reduce friction and transfer pressure from your sensitive areas. If your deformity is flexible, you may be able to manually straighten your toe. If your deformity is rigid, there is extra stress at the ball of your foot that prevents your toe from straightening, and you may require more extensive treatment. Treating your feet as soon as you notice any pain, discomfort, new growths (corns, calluses or bunions) or shape abnormalities is very helpful in overcoming toe deformities. Failure to see improvements with the recommended treatments may make surgery your only option.
A toe deformity forces your toes to stay bent for long periods of time, which causes your muscles and tendons to shorten and contract. Cold compression therapy is a great option to decrease inflammation, pain, and soft tissue (muscle, tendon, ligament, nerve and connective tissue) damage experienced with toe deformities.
Physical therapy, foot manipulation, deep massage and reflexology have also shown to be effective in relieving tension, strengthening your foot and helping with alignment.
Corrective footwear, orthotics, inserts or other foot devices provide arch support and help to align your muscles and bones so they work together. These will also help keep your foot and/or toe in a more comfortable position and provide relief. These can be purchased on your own or can be custom made with the help of a chiropodist, podiatrist, or a chiropractor.
Home treatment options
What you want to do is make your toe and foot muscles and tendons more flexible and strong. This involves strengthening and relieving tension in the muscles and tendons of your toes and foot through exercise and/or Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ which create blood flow to your injured area. Alternate stretching and bending your toes, pull on them with a towel, or try picking things up with your toes like fabric, marbles or a stick (scrunching your toes). Toe and foot exercises will also help to correct any muscle imbalances.
You will want to cushion your toes and give them room to move; shoes such as sandals or running shoes are often the best option for comfort. Properly sized, comfortable footwear that doesn't pinch or rub your toes is helpful. Look for soft shoes with a wide deep toe-box (shoes should be 1/2 inch longer than your longest toe to avoid any friction or rubbing). Avoid tight, narrow, high-heeled shoes, and make sure your stockings, nylons and socks aren't too snug.
Soak your toes in alternating warm and cold water baths, this will provide temporary relief of tight tendons and muscles. You can also gently rub your corns or calluses while your feet are in warm water or just afterwards, with a pumice stone or nail file. Do NOT try to cut or remove these on your own, as breaking the skin could cause a serious infection, especially if you have diabetes or a disease. Apply moisturizer to your feet after your bath to keep your skin soft.
Support items, such as straps, cushions, non-medicated felt corn pads, moleskin, toe shields or caps (hold down toe) can reposition your toe and relieve pressure, protect corns, calluses and bunions, and relieve pain, especially if you have flat feet. Splinting or taping your affected toe in place is also effective.
Maintaining a healthy diet is very important, especially if you have diabetes; as you will be more prone to poor circulation and lack of feeling in your feet.