A hammertoe is a generic term for a deformed toe. They are often progressive in nature leading to pressure pain over the top or front of the toe.
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The only permanent correction is done through surgical intervention. Toes that can be fully reduced into a normal position can often be corrected with tendon procedures. This is often done in the office under local anesthesia. Stiffer deformities usually need a more extensive correction. Surgical treatment is very successful for permanent and long term correction.
Conservative treatment is often limited due to the structural deformity and soft tissue imbalance of the toe. Splints can be used to help hold the toe in good position. This does not permanently treat the deformity. Wider shoes or sandals can help to offload the deformity.