Since I was born, I've had bent-up hammertoes (all of my toes, including the big one) and they don't hurt but I've been reading about the condition, and it sounds like they may start to as I age. As far as I know, I didn't wear ill-fitting shoes as a kid, and my dad's feet look just like mine. They make it hard to fit into some shoes, but other than that I don't really mind it. If there's a simple, non-surgical way to straighten them out, I'd be interested to hear about it.
Everything I read tells me my feet must hurt and that it's the direct cause of wearing unhealthy shoes (which I don't really do). I never have talked about it with my doctor because it doesn't bother me, and no doctor has ever brought it up to me. I'm a big proponent of the "if it's not broken, don't fix it," approach to health, so I'd rather leave well enough alone if I really am "well enough."
Well, there is no non-surgical way to straighten them and the sugical method can be painful. Since they are congenital and don't bother you, I'd leave them alone until they do. If you have good insurance, you could find a good foot and ankle ortho and just have him/her check them out. They might be able to tell you if they think you will have problems down the road and why - other structural issues you may not know about, etc.
Outcomes from hammertoe surgeries often aren't all that good.
Don't know who told you that or why you feel that way. Hammertoe surgeries are commonly quite successful but as with all surgeries they should only be considered if they are really needed. Pain, though, may not be the only criteria.
Last edited by Footsurgeon; 05-27-2009 at 09:32 AM.